The Star Early Edition
Heist at spooks’ office: cameras were off
Employees fingered for an inside job after Hawks wade in
THE HAWKS have handed a report to the State Security Agency (SSA), urging it to take disciplinary action against some of its employees following a daring heist at the spooks’ headquarters.
According to a well-placed source, investigations have revealed that one of the officials had tampered with the cameras just before R17 million was stolen from the spy offices.
“Although some of the cameras are faulty, some of them were deliberately tampered with,” the source said.
The elite unit arrested three men in connection with the theft of R17m from SSA offices on December 26. It was originally reported that R50m had been stolen, but Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi later confirmed that the amount was R17m.
Mulaudzi confirmed that the report was handed to the SSA last week to conduct their own investigations.
SSA spokesman Brian Dube confirmed they were conducting internal investigations to determine if disciplinary action should be taken against any of their employees.
He, however, said he was not aware that the Hawks had submitted a report.
Sources have claimed that the theft was an inside job.
A source close to the investigation, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We have interviewed three SSA employees, two women and a man. One woman did not hand over the safe keys to the senior manager and left them in a drawer. That’s how the thieves found them (the safe keys)
“The other women is an IT specialist. We also interviewed a security officer.
“We have completed a report, and SSA has to deal with them internally. We believe that the internal processes have started and they will be suspended soon,” the source said.
Mulaudzi said they were happy with the progress of the investigations so far. “The task team is working day and night to arrest the rest of the suspects.”
The Star can reveal that the Hawks are looking for three more suspects in connection with the theft, following the arrest of another trio a few days ago.
It is understood that the thieves jumped over the electric fence, because it was not working, and then gained entry from a back window of the building. “We are not sure if the other part of the electric fence is working,” said a source.
The Hawks arrested the head of security at SSA, a security officer as well as the driver of the director-general, Sonto Kudjoe, who was found in possession of R100 000 believed to have been stolen during the burglary at the SSA offices.
The crooks are believed to have gained entry through a window and then used access cards to open the other sections.
“This shows that it was nicely planned and the people knew exactly where to look and what to look for,” the source added.
Meanwhile, the EFF released a statement on Friday saying they have noted that two suspects have appeared in court in relation to the theft.
“The EFF calls on the Hawks to consider investigation of both the ANC’s expenditure on the 104th birthday rally and associated parties, as well as election campaign preparations.
“The EFF knows as a matter of fact that the ANC does not have money to run the elections campaign this year and thus they are doing everything in their power to find money,” Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.
He added it “is not explicable that criminals will brave their way into the headquarters of the SSA without being tipped off or working with internal officials. This is an inside job.”