Corruption cloud over SecDef’s head from her stint at SSA

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Allegations of fraud and corruption involving over R110 million naming current Secretary for Defence Gladys Kudjoe while she held a senior position at the State Security Agency (SSA) are with the investigating directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The former ambassador was appointed as the accounting officer for the Department of Defence (DoD) in August 2020 following the retirement of Dr Sam Gulube.

Media reports have it the case, apparently involving fraud, theft and money laundering, was opened at Lyttelton Police Station in Centurion last June has been transferred from the SA Police Service (SAPS) Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), better known as the Hawks, to the investigating directorate of Advocate Shamila Batohi’s National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

“A fraud and corruption case (CAS 177/06/2021) was opened at Lyttelton Police Station and the docket was transferred to the Hawks for investigation,” according to News24 which added it was “now” with the investigating directorate, headed by Advocate Andrea Johnson. Johnson replaced Advocate Hermione Cronje who resigned in December.

Kudjoe, after representing South Africa as ambassador in Sweden, Latvia and Egypt, became the first woman director-general of the SSA in August 2013. She resigned after what was reported as a “tense relationship” with then security minister David Mahlobo.

South African media reports have it the current SecDef was alleged involved in “changed budget control processes and moved a sizeable chunk to her office”.

Transactions to the value of R112 million between March 2014 and April 2016 were flagged. At the time of the reports then defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, now National Assembly Speaker, apparently spoke with the former ambassador seeking clarity. “Kudjoe co-operated and proffered an explanation to the minister who in turn is satisfied by the responses provided,” IOL reported.

“The DoD will allow law enforcement authorities space to do their work and take an informed decision at the appropriate time,” according to IOL.

There was, at the time of publishing, no further information from either the DoD or the NDPP’s investigative division.