Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cele plane bill soars to R1.5m


National police commissioner General Bheki Cele has spent at least R1.498m on flights with the SAPS since August 2009, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance's Dianne Kohler Barnard, he said Cele had jetted around 47 times by May 30 this year.

While most flights were domestic, to all corners of the country, he also flew to Malawi, Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in the jet, Mthethwa said.

In a statement later, Kohler Barnard lambasted the embattled police chief and again called for his dismissal.

No reason given for trips

Mthethwa had not disclosed the purpose of these trips, nor did he indicate why Cele could not travel using a commercial airline in each instance.

Recently, Cele's conduct regarding the "dodgy" police lease deals had been found by the Public Protector
Thuli Madonsela to be unlawful, improper, and constituting maladministration, she said.

"This latest revelation underscores the disregard that Commissioner Cele has repeatedly displayed for accountability, professional conduct, and prudent use of State funds.

"It is unclear what more evidence President
Jacob Zuma needs before Commissioner Cele is dismissed."
Reckless spending

In less than one month, Cele racked up a bill of R150 000 on three separate trips from OR Tambo International, Johannesburg, to Cape Town.

Three such business class trips on SAA would have equalled less than a tenth of that cost.

In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) the accounting officer of an institution should exercise all reasonable care to detect unauthorised, irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure, and should for this purpose implement effective, efficient, and transparent processes of financial and risk management.

Cele was the police’s accounting officer, and his about R1.5m plane bill constituted reckless expenditure, Kohler Barnard said.

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