A former Hawks boss appears to be off the hook after attempting to prevent the arrest of rape and human-trafficking accused Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso and escorting him using police blue lights.
Retired KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major-General Jabulani Zikhali was reported to Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Judge Frans Diale Kgomo by the team investigating Omotoso.
Zikhali, who apparently refers to Omotoso as “Daddy”, is accused of placing a number of obstacles in the way of investigators which initially prevented his arrest. Omotoso was eventually nabbed in April 2017 at Port Elizabeth International Airport and remains behind bars despite Zikhali’s efforts.
According to evidence submitted to Judge Kgomo, Zikhali is a member of the Omotoso’s Jesus Dominion International Church. Although Zikhali took early retirement in December last year Judge Kgomo has recommended that “his ‘sins’ nevertheless must follow him wherever he goes”.
He recommended to Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya that he institute disciplinary action against Zikhali. However, Lebeya on Saturday told Independent Media that Judge Kgomo’s recommendations regarding the departmental processes were overtaken by events.
He said once the employer-employee relationship ends the departmental process is shelved and that they were not dealing with a criminal matter. “We no longer have jurisdiction,” Lebeya said.
When the Hawks were looking for Omotoso, Zikhali told a packed Bloemfontein City Hall that he was the head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal and that he was the extension and the arm of the unit’s national boss.
”We are going to protect the integrity of the ministry and our spiritual father. There is no case that was reported to the police. As I have said I am the boss of the Hawks and many of you know the Hawks. I would have known if there was a report made to the police,” the investigating team quoted Zikhali. They alleged that Zikhali continued: “I was a brigadier but daddy prayed for me I was upgraded (sic) to a Major-General”.
He was accused of stating that there were four police captains, junior officers and members of the SA National Defence Force in Omotoso’s church. However, Judge Kgomo, who deals with complaints against the Hawks’ members, found that the fact that Zikhali’s spiritual conviction was that he attained his promotion to Major-General through Omotoso’s prayers is no justification for the stance he took.
Judge Kgomo said his remedial action circumscribed broadly what Zikhali rendered himself guilty of. ”Abuse of power, as Zikhali was not executing official duties when he escorted Omotoso, a private citizen, when he engaged a blue intermittently-flashing light reserved for escorting dignitaries or officials. He did so in contravention of traffic regulations,” Judge Kgomo stated in his remedial action.
He found that Zikhali abused state resources by using blue lights when he was not on duty and aided and abetted a criminal suspect to evade arrest. Judge Kgomo said Zikhali’s interference with the Hawks’ investigation amounted to criminal conduct and is prohibited by the SA Police Service Act.
Zikhali intimidated, victimised the investigating team, and gave a false statement or evidence in the execution of his duties by lying that he did not know Omotoso’s whereabouts and claiming that he was assisting the investigating team to apprehend him when the converse was true, according to the judge.
Judge Kgomo also found that Zikhali neglected his duty or performed his functions in an improper manner by shirking his responsibilities by referring the team to a senior church official to locate Omotoso and then “cowardly decamped to Durban leaving the investigating team in the lurch”.
He asked Lebeya to report back to him by the end of October on the status of the implementation of his remedial action. Zikhali, who was among the candidates for the position of national Hawks head in 2018 when Lebeya was appointed, did not respond to enquiries yesterday.