Besieged police Crime Intelligence (CI) boss Peter Jacobs is the second high-ranking officer to face an internal investigation centred on the murder of Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) detective Charl Kinnear.
The probe relates to what Jacobs did, or failed to do, when police received warning of a threat on Kinnear’s life.
The intelligence chief is now seized with a war on many fronts and is ostensibly on suspension while facing other serious misconduct charges, these relating to the use of the CI slush fund to buy Covid-19 PPE.
Kinnear was gunned down on 18 September, two weeks after police received credible information that his phone was being illegally tracked, with fears that the surveillance was a precursor to an attack.
In an internal police memorandum obtained by a local publication, Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole notified Jacobs that he was under investigation for “failing” to act on the threat.
A local publication previously reported that two weeks before Kinnear’s slaying, Hawks officials from the Crimes Against the State Unit had moved immediately to confirm information – channeled to them from an informant – that the decorated cop was being watched.
By that point, Kinnear had been tracked thousands of times by Zane Kilian, an unregistered private investigator from Springs in Gauteng.
Gauteng Hawks head Brigadier Ebrahim Kadwa had then, sources said, drafted a top-secret memo that was channeled to Hawks boss General Godfrey Lebeya and Jacobs on 7 September. At the time, Jacobs had been booked off sick.
Kilian’s tracking of Kinnear had reached fever pitch in the days leading up to the killing and now, while he is the only man criminally charged for the murder, four misconduct charges have been levelled against Jacobs.
“You allegedly committed misconduct… [when] you failed to operationalize the threat as received from the DPCI [the Hawks] on 7 September,” Sitole’s letter reads.
The remaining three charges are that Jacobs allegedly:
Failed to raise the alarm about the threat with his stand-in despite Jacobs’ “long understanding” of the threat; Failed to inform critical role-players immediately after receiving the threat information; and Failed to fulfill his responsibilities as the head of Crime Intelligence.
Jacobs joins AGU head, Major General Andre Lincoln, under the cloud of suspicion. Lincoln is also facing an internal inquiry for two counts of alleged misconduct in failing to ensure Kinnear had bodyguards assigned to protect him.
Sources close to the investigation claimed to a local publication that Lincoln had been informed of Kilian’s surveillance around the same time word reached Jacobs.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo said: “It has never been our position to confirm investigations against any individuals where its public servants or private citizens.”
The growing discord over Jacobs, chief casualty in an apparent leadership purge in the cop spook division, speaks to an institution in critical flux.
Jacobs and five other officers are accused of improperly using the Secret Services Account – an R500 million slush fund meant to bankroll covert operations – to purchase nearly R1.5 million in PPE from three known companies, two of which a local publication identified as having ties to former and current police officers.
Jacobs has been charged with misconduct on the strength that the procurement happened under his watch after one of his subordinates – who has also been suspended – was flagged in an investigation for his alleged proximity to the contract winners.
Jacobs has held that the charges levelled against him and the officers under his command were without basis, and that he was being sidelined for rooting out graft and exposing the looting of the secret fund.
Sitole, in supporting his disciplinary action, also claims to be flying the anti-corruption flag.
Efforts to reach Jacobs were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.
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