State Security Agency disputes alleged continued existence of “criminal networks” within its ranks
The State Security Agency has today, Monday, 21 February 2022, disputed allegations made by a News 24 report that among others, “criminal networks which captured and paralyzed the State Security Agency between 2008 and 2018 are still firmly entrenched in the organization” (SSA DECLASSIFIED: Networks which looted R1.5bn from spy agency still in place as investigations collapse).
The report further makes an unfounded allegation that investigations launched to probe corruption in the agency have “fizzled out” apparently due to the reinstatement of members who were previously suspended on allegations of corruption. The Agency wants to place it on record that the decision to uplift the suspension of some members and to bring them back into the organization was done procedurally with no intention to entrench the alleged “criminal networks”.
The Acting Director General, Ambassador Gab Msimang says that the organization took this decision because most of these members had been suspended for more than the allowed regulated timeframe. “The Intelligence Services Regulations of 2014, provide that a member may not remain suspended for more than a period of eighteen months without being charged and most of these people had been on suspension for more than the regulated period” he said. The Agency therefore took the correct decision to reinstate these members because it was in violation of its own regulations.
The fact that some of the members who were reinstated still faced allegations of corruption is a matter that the agency is fully aware of and has subjected to the probe conducted by a forensic investigations firm in the Agency. The Acting Director General says that the appointment of Ligwa Advisory Services (Forensic Firm) in November 2021, is one of the strategic interventions undertaken to uncover and prosecute acts of fraud and corruption in the Agency.
“It is therefore not correct to say that the investigations launched to probe corruption have “fizzled out”, in fact these have actually been intensified because the Agency is now working very closely with the National Prosecuting Authority’ Investigations Directorate to follow up and prosecute these matters” said the Acting Director General. A number of cases that are currently before the court on issues of fraud and corruption in the Agency emanate from these interventions.
The State Security Agency has also put mitigating measures in respect of the positions that these reinstated members occupy, to an extent that their alleged misconduct is kept in check. The Acting Director General says that the work to implement the recommendations of the High Level Review Panel is ongoing and the issues raised in the report, some of which are rehashed in the News 24 report will not be resolved overnight.
“We have a long way to go as an Agency to undo the misdemeanors of the past and we can assure the public that despite the recycling of these issues in the public space, we are determined in partnership with our law enforcement counterparts that the intelligence services will emerge victorious and much more composed to fulfill its Constitutional mandate, which is to safeguard the territorial integrity of the Republic and the safety of its citizens”.
The State Security Agency therefore reiterates that there are no attempts to reaffirm some alleged “criminal networks” in the organization. If anything, a great deal of work is being undertaken in line with the recommendations of the High Level Review Panel on State Security to turn around the organization and focus it to achieve its Constitutional mandate.
Source: Government of South Africa