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Mthethwa surprised at news of Madonsela arrest

Jul 06 2011 08:28 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday said that he was surprised at the news that police were planning to arrest Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on charges of fraud and corruption.

Speaking in an interview on SAFM, he said he was not aware of it.

The Star reported on Wednesday that police planned to arrest Madonsela. Companies owned by her allegedly worked for, and were paid R1.8m, by the SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC) while she was a full-time commissioner there three years ago, according to "independent sources".

Madonsela, who was interviewed shortly after Mthethwa, said that she was never involved in any corrupt activities while working for the SALRC.

"I never did personally work with the department of justice and there's no question I was paid that amount of money," she said.

"We thought it was a joke but it was confirmed to be a story that has been given for real to the Independent.

"The allegation is that the company I own did work for the department of justice. There was a question raised about it at the time. I was told it was a query. I have since retrieved some of the paperwork. At no stage was there ever an allegation of fraud or corruption."

She said the timing of the allegations was "questionable" as it came a day before she was scheduled to brief the media on several investigations. Madonsela was currently finalising reports about contracts police entered into to lease new headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, for R500m and R1.1bn respectively. In her preliminary report, Madonsela found national police commissioner Bheki Cele guilty of maladministration for his role in the leases.

"The timing is quite questionable, but since I'm not God I can't determine whether there's a link or not," she said.

Responding to questions on whether she feared for her life, Madonsela said that she was not afraid.

"We all gonna die some day. I will always do my job the best I know how. I have to do my job independently and without fear or favour."

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