For­mer com­mis­sioner ad­mits to cor­rup­tion

CityPress - - News - XOLANI MBAN­JWA xolani.mban­jwa@city­press.co.za

For­mer deputy na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Hamil­ton Hlela has pleaded guilty to cor­rup­tion and re­ceiv­ing kick­backs – two Dur­ban hol­i­days for him and his wife, and school and uni­ver­sity fees for his two sons.

Hlela was the star wit­ness for the team that led the ev­i­dence in the in­quiry into for­mer na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Bheki Cele’s fit­ness to hold of­fice af­ter the R1.7 bil­lion Mid­destad lease scan­dal.

Hlela, who pleaded guilty be­fore the Spe­cialised Com­mer­cial Crimes Court in Pre­to­ria this week, ad­mit­ted to per­son­ally ben­e­fit­ing to the tune of R76 203 from Mid­way Two Hold­ings – a com­pany that was awarded ten­ders to the value of R4 bil­lion be­tween 2007 and 2008 by the SA Po­lice Ser­vice’s bid ad­ju­di­ca­tion com­mit­tee, which Hlela chaired.

The court has ruled that Hlela should re­pay the state R76 203 and has is­sued an or­der to con­fis­cate his Mercedes-Benz ML500 should he fail to pay within 30 days.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, Hlela, in his ca­pac­ity as bid ad­ju­di­ca­tion com­mit­tee chair, awarded ten­ders to three com­pa­nies: Mid­way Two Con­trac­tors, Demo­cratic Industrial Ser­vices and In­tegcomm, a group of com­pa­nies be­long­ing to Mid­way Two Hold­ings.

Hlela ad­mit­ted that Mid­way Two Hold­ings:

Paid R6 185 to Glen High School in Pre­to­ria for his son’s school fees;

Paid R18 210 to the Nel­son Man­dela Metropoli­tan Uni­ver­sity in Port El­iz­a­beth for an­other son’s fees;

Paid R14 295.65 to World­wide In­cen­tive and Travel So­lu­tions for air­fares and ac­com­mo­da­tion for a hol­i­day be­tween Au­gust 22 and 24 2008 for him and his wife in Dur­ban; and

Paid R14 328.54 to World­wide In­cen­tive and Travel So­lu­tions for air­fares and ac­com­mo­da­tion for an­other hol­i­day for him and his wife in Dur­ban from June 19 to 21 in 2009.

One of the ten­ders Hlela was found by the court to have rigged in­cludes a R1 bil­lion, five-year con­tract awarded to In­tegcomm for the sup­ply for a new twoway ra­dio te­tra com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work for the Eastern Cape.

The other four ten­ders were for the sup­ply of crafts­men for the po­lice’s me­chan­i­cal ser­vice, clean­ing ser­vices, labour for the po­lice’s build­ing ser­vice and the hir­ing of qual­i­fied ra­dio ar­ti­sans, tech­ni­cians and elec­tronic sys­tems en­gi­neers. The con­tracts ranged for a pe­riod of be­tween two and five years.

On all the four counts, Hlela pleaded guilty to cor­rup­tion and “ac­knowl­edged that as a re­sult of his crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, namely cor­rup­tion, he ben­e­fited to the amount of R76 203” af­ter award­ing the ten­ders to com­pa­nies be­long­ing to Mid­way, said the court.

Mid­way Two Hold­ings CEO Danny Naicker, who bought the com­pany in 2012, said: “There you have it, an ad­mis­sion of guilt. But I can’t shed light on any of that be­cause it took place be­fore I bought the com­pany. What I can say is that all this neg­a­tive press con­tin­ues to af­fect my busi­ness to­day, even though I was not there when th­ese things took place.”

Dur­ing Cele’s in­quiry into his fit­ness to hold of­fice in the R1.7 bil­lion lease saga, only Hlela claimed that Cele iden­ti­fied the Mid­destad build­ing and that Cele in­structed him to pro­cure a lease for it, a claim the for­mer na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner de­nied.

Both Hlela and Cele also ad­mit­ted dur­ing the in­quiry that they did not see eye to eye, with the lat­ter telling the in­quiry that he did not trust Hlela.

Cele could not, how­ever, ex­plain why he trusted Hlela to over­see the sign­ing of leases for the po­lice ser­vice.

Hlela told the in­quiry that his de­ci­sion in 2012 to take early re­tire­ment at the age of 55 was mo­ti­vated by the “se­vere pres­sure” ex­erted on him by Cele to sign the Mid­destad lease.

Hamil­ton

Hlela

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