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Axed S.African police chief vows to clear his name

By AFP

PRETORIA (AFP) - South Africa's disgraced former police chief Bheki Cele vowed Wednesday to clear his name, one day after he was sacked over shady property deals.

Cele accepted President Jacob Zuma's decision to sack him, but said he would ask a high court to review "errors of fact, logic and law that littered this report".

An investigation into Cele found him "unfit for office" due to his handling of leases for police headquarters that were signed at far above market rates.

Cele also said he would lay a complaint against judge Jake Moloi, accusing him of betraying his oath of office.

Dressed in grey cowboy hat, grey suit and purple-and-lilac striped tie, Cele blasted the allegations against him as a "victorious war waged over my life" and "three-year persecution".

Appointed in 2009, Cele was accused over irregular leasing deals for police offices from business tycoon Roux Shabangu. He was suspended in October when a commission of enquiry was launched.

Mangwashi "Riya" Phiyega was appointed the new national police commissioner, the first woman to hold the job.

A technocrat with considerable management experience, she has been a trustee of Nelson Mandela's foundation and an executive at Barclays-owned banking group Absa.

South Africa's police service has been wracked with successive scandals.

Cele's predecessor Jackie Selebi, a former Interpol president, is serving a 15-year jail sentence for accepting gifts from a convicted drug trafficker.

The repeated controversies have undermined public faith in police in South Africa, one of the most dangerous countries in the world outside of war zones. There were almost 16,000 murders in the year ending March 2011.