Former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has been arrested — this time on new charges stemming from an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) investigation into an R86-million blue lights tender.
Along with Phahlane, Major General Ravichandran Pillay, the head of South African Police Service (Saps) supply chain management, was also nabbed early on Friday morning.
They are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court later on Friday morning on charges of fraud and corruption.
The charges stem from a 2016 tender awarded to Instrumentation Traffic Law Enforcement, owned by millionaire Vimpie Manthatha.
Last year, Ipid arrested former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, national divisional commissioner in charge of supply chain management, Lieutenant General Ramahlapi Mokwena, Brigadier James Ramajalum and Gauteng deputy police commissioner Nombhuruza Napo on charges of corruption, fraud, forgery and uttering in connection with the same case.
De Lange was granted bail by the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in November 2018. Manthatha is accused number one in the matter, which was postponed to March 2019.
Phahlane and Pillay are expected to be joined to the De Lange case after making their first appearances.
Manthatha’s company, Instrumentation Traffic Law Enforcement, was awarded a contract to supply and install blue lights, sirens and radios in SAPS vehicles.
Manthatha allegedly supplied fraudulent tax clearance certificates to SAPS in tender documents.
De Lange and her co-accused, who will all plead not guilty, are alleged by the State to have “failed to take the necessary steps to disqualify Instrumentation [Traffic Law Enforcement] and thereby misrepresented to the accounting officer of the SAPS and/or national treasury that they did not have a duty to ensure the winning bidder was not awarded the contract to supply the equipment as it was not tax compliant and/or submitted fraudulent tax certificates.”
In 2011, The Star reported that the “Blue light prince, Manthatha, travelled around with his own blue light escort of Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) vehicles.
He denied this, saying he had an arrangement with the JMPD to get an escort when he hosted foreign dignitaries.
It is not the first time Phahlane will find himself in the dock as a result of alleged corruption involving tenders awarded by the SAPS.
In February 2018, Phahlane and his wife, Beauty, were charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering for accepting hefty kickbacks, including vehicles, allegedly in exchange for the awarding of lucrative forensic equipment supply tenders to Forensic Data Analysts, owned by Keith Keating.
In December 2017, Ipid investigators raided the homes of Keating and Phahlane following nearly a year of investigation.
However, in November 2018 charges against Phahlane were provisionally withdrawn in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
It is not immediately clear when or if these charges will be reinstated.
In 2015, The Witness reported that Pillay, who is overall in charge of police procurement, faced possible disciplinary action for his alleged links to controversial Durban businessman, Toshan Panday.
Pillay was provided with a rental car, paid for by one of Panday’s companies, which he used while on official police business.
Panday has been accused of paying for gifts to various KwaZulu-Natal top cops in exchange for millions in SAPS tenders.