The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigating Directorate (ID) and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) have issued a joint statement in response to reports that IPID had abruptly pulled two investigators from an ID task team probing corruption allegations against former and current top police officials.
Last year, IPID seconded six investigators to the ID to assist with “serious, high profile or complex” corruption cases. On Thursday, Viewfinder reported that IPID had recalled two of the investigators who worked on, among other cases, corruption allegations against former police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane. They were also told to hand over their dockets to head office.
In response to queries, IPID did not deny that the investigators had been recalled.
Viewfinder also reported warnings from former IPID officials that the recalls may have been aimed to protect corruption accused cops from prosecution.
In response to this news report, the ID and IPID have committed to “strengthen” their collaboration. The statement was however vague on exactly what this strengthened collaboration would look like.
The statement follows a meeting between IPID and the ID. The meeting addressed IPID’s constrained capacity, which is exacerbated by an increased number of cases against police officers emanating from Covid-19 lockdown enforcement, and the ID’s need to maintain “a skilled and stable team” on its corruption cases emanating from the state security sector.
The two management teams committed to finding mutual solutions to these challenges and to identify and prioritise the “most pressing” cases to “root out corruption at the highest levels in the police”.
Viewfinder put queries to both IPID and the ID to find out what these ongoing deliberations meant for the two investigators recalled by IPID last week. In particular, were they to be provisionally retained within the ID or provisionally recalled, while these deliberations were ongoing?
Neither IPID nor the ID responded to this question at time of publication.