The Department of Defence (DoD) is seeking clarity regarding ‘serious and disturbing allegations’ that Secretary for Defence Gladys Sonto Kudjoe was involved in R112 million theft/corruption activities.
In a statement, the DoD said the minister of defence, Thandi Modise, has contacted Ambassador Kudjoe to seek clarity in respect of these allegations. “Ambassador Kudjoe has co-operated and proffered an explanation to the Minister who in turn is satisfied by the responses provided.”
The Sunday Times earlier this week reported that Kudjoe is under investigation by the Hawks for alleged theft and/or corruption to the tune of R112 million in temporary advances. The publication said Kudjoe, who served as the director-general of the State Security Agency (SSA), and a handful of people who worked in her office, created what appears to have been phantom operations that required large sums of cash.
Hawks investigation unit spokesperson Katlego Mogale told Eyewitness News that, “the directorate for priority crime investigation can confirm that a case was registered at Lyttleton SAPS and transferred to the national serious corruption investigation for further probe.”
The DoD said with regard to the issue of the pending criminal case, Kudjoe has confirmed that she has neither been approached by SSA nor by SAPS. “In view of the above, the Department of Defence will allow the law enforcement authorities space to do their work and shall take an informed decision at the appropriate time. Suffice to say that this was brought to attention of former Minister of Defence, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who at the time had already vacated her position.”
The Sunday Times further reported that Kudjoe’s top-secret security clearance for her job as secretary for defence was turned down because of the criminal case against her.
The Department of Defence put it on record that Kudjoe was appointed to the position of Secretary for Defence after undergoing a rigorous recruitment process. “Submission of all relevant documentation including a valid Top-Secret Clearance Certificate formed part of the said process, which was duly done by Ambassador Kudjoe. At the time of her appointment Ambassador Kudjoe was on a full five year Top-Secret Clearance, which had been issued to her in 2015 while she was still deployed at the SSA. This Top-Secret Clearance expired in December 2020, which was long after Ambassador Kudjoe’s appointment as the Secretary for Defence. The Department of Defence categorically places on record that Ambassador Kudjoe’s appointment was done in accordance with the recruitment processes and there is nothing untoward with her appointment.”
The DoD statement added that, “it is important to note that the Department of Defence has not been provided with an outcome of the security clearance of Ambassador Kudjoe and it is anticipated that the process will take long to complete due to a huge backlog experienced. There is a huge number of government officials with outstanding security clearances. The Department of Defence does not boast to have knowledge of security clearance being declined against Ambassador Kudjoe.”
Kudjoe has assured the Minister that she is following up with the relevant institutions and officials about the developments relating to the alleged criminal case opened against her and shall keep the Minister posted.