Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
11 Apr 2022
9:43 am

Crime Intelligence spent R112m on spy tech they can’t use – report

Citizen Reporter

A report says former Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs should be blamed for the wasteful expenditure.

Major General Peter Jacobs during the bargaining council hearing into the firing of Jeremy Vearey at the Cullinan Hotel on 16 August 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

Former Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs could face a criminal investigation over the police unit spending more than R100 million on spying equipment that it cannot use.

News24 reports that an investigation by Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe has alleged that good buying practice was not adhered to.

Dintwe said Jacobs should take the blame for the wasteful expenditure.

Jacobs and five other high-ranking officers were suspended in December 2020 over the procurement of the spying equipment, including eavesdropping devices and drones.

Dintwe’s report alleges:

  • The police spent more than R500,000 on 15 surveillance drones, despite the fact that only two people in South Africa have licences to fly them.
  • It also states that Crime Intelligence paid more than R6 million to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for technical advice on which drones to buy. It then purchased a different model.
  • The unit also spent R40 million more than what was quoted for the eavesdropping devices, known as grabbers.

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The report also states that, although R112 million was spent on the drones, the grabbers, and the cars they would be fitted in, the equipment is lying idle in a warehouse due to an administrative bungle.

This is due to the police not getting an exemption to use the equipment under the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA).

Court upholds suspension

Dintwe’s report is just the latest setback to hit Jacobs.

In January 2021, the North Gauteng High Court threw out Jacobs’ urgent bid for reinstatement.

This was after Jacobs and five other officers were suspended over alleged abuses of the Secret Service Account. 

Jacobs and the five officers argued due process had not been followed by former Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole. Acting Judge Jacques Minnaar, however, found that Sitole was not only entitled to suspend them, he was obliged to.

Jacobs and his fellow officers were accused of using the Secret Service Account – intended for funding covert operations – for PPE purchases. 

Additional reporting by Bernadette Wicks