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Sat Nov 01 07:25:03 SAST 2014

Auction of police boats under investigation

Sapa | 23 December, 2012 11:52
South African banknotes. File Photo
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / Reuters

The apparent auctioning off of a fleet of patrol boats originally intended for the police, is currently under legal investigation, the police said on Sunday.

"This matter is now in the legal process and for now I cannot say much on whether we lost or not," police spokesman Lindela Mashigo said.

The Sunday Times reported that SA taxpayers funded a R10 million deposit to build a new fleet of police patrol boats - only to see them auctioned off to somebody else.

The four state-of-the-art vessels were commissioned by the police in January 2007 to beef up their ailing water wing.

The 32-million tender to build the boats was awarded to Cape Town Company Eraco. But it later filed for liquidation and the boats were attached by the sheriff of the court.

On Sunday, Mashigo said that "the court process will determine whether we get our money back or not. We didn't know that it (Eraco) will file for liquidation."

According to the newspaper, police did not bid at the auction in 2010 and appeared to have cut their losses.

KND Naval Design , a Cape Town boat-building company snapped up the half-built vessels at the auction for about R10 million.

They will apparently be deployed off the east coast of Africa to protect commercial shipping from pirates.

Since the auction, the Sunday Times claimed that the police water wing has not invested in any new vessels and its fleet has fallen into disrepair.

However, Mashigo said the police's water wing was fine for now.

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