The North Gauteng Court has thrown out suspended Crime Intelligence (CI) boss Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs’ urgent bid for reinstatement.
Late last year, National Saps Commissioner Khehla Sitole suspended Jacobs and five of his fellow officers over alleged abuses of the Secret Service Account. They in response turned to the court, where they argued due process had not been followed and that Sitole had in fact not been in a position to take the action he had.
But acting Judge Jacques Minnaar – who presided over the case – on Friday found the national commissioner was not only entitled to do as he had, he was obliged to.
Jacobs and his fellow officers have been accused of using the Secret Service Account – intended for funding covert operations – for PPE purchases. They, however, deny the allegations and claim they are in fact being targeted in response to their own efforts to fight broader corruption within the division.
“The sole purpose of our suspensions is because of the checks and balances that we, as a team, have put in place to stop misuse and mismanagement of the Secret Services Account,” Jacobs had said in the court papers.
But he had argued their suspensions fell to be set aside because according to the Intelligence Services Oversight (ISO) Act, the Police Minister should have been furnished with a report from the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence (OIGI) beforehand.
Minnaar, however, found while the act created an “oversight mechanism where the IGI can receive complaints and reports on matters, investigate them and submit findings to the minister,” that it did not regulate Jacobs and his fellow officers’ suspensions.
“It does not provide that in the absence of the IGI submitting a report to the minister, and in the absence of a decision by the minister which is communicated to the national commissioner, the national commissioner will have no powers of suspension,” he said.
“It is the national commissioner’s prerogative as as the employer to initiate investigations and disciplinary action against [Jacobs and his fellow officers],” Minnaar went on.
“There is nothing in the ISO Act that prohibits or precludes the national commissioner from initiating disciplinary action – or an internal investigation for that matter – in the event that he becomes aware of serious allegations of misconduct committed by senior officials within Saps. It follows that he needs to act swiftly in execution of his mandate”.
He dismissed the application and slapped Jacobs and his fellow officers with the costs of the suit.