Kickbacks: Ex-top cop in court

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HamiltonHlela

Independent Newspapers.

Hamilton Hlela. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu.

Johannesburg - A former top cop at the centre of an investigation into tenders worth R4 billion has been nailed for kickbacks – a holiday for him and his wife, and school fees for his two sons.

Former police general Hamilton Hlela – who was in charge of the SAPS multibillion-rand procurement department – is now in court to disprove the State’s allegations that a company that got tenders paid R14 000 for him and his wife’s holiday in Durban, and more than R40 000 for his two sons’ school fees.

But despite being at the centre of a Special Investigating Unit probe into how he allegedly benefited from more than R4 billion worth of tenders, Hlela may go down for just R52 900 if the State’s case against him holds.

Affidavits in The Sunday Independent’s possession show how Hlela and 14 other officers allegedly received black refuse bags of meat, envelopes of money, Persian rugs, overseas trips and jobs for family members in a company in exchange for tenders.

According to the charge sheet, seen by The Sunday Independent, Hlela allegedly received two sets of school fees and two trips to Durban with his wife.

Hlela is currently facing charges in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, instituted by the Hawks.

He appeared in court on Friday where the matter was postponed to September.

The charge sheet states that Hlela, when he was the chairman of the Bid Adjudication Committee of the police, awarded five tenders to three companies: Midway Two Contractors, Democratic Industrial Services and Integcomm.

The three companies form part of Midway Two Holdings.

In exchange, Midway Two allegedly paid R6 185 into the Standard Bank account of Glen High School in Pretoria as school fees for Hlela’s son, another R18 210 into the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for his other son’s university fees, and on two occasions over R14 000 was paid to World Wide Incentive and Travel Solutions for the benefit of Hlela and his wife for a weekend’s airfare and accommodation in Durban.

The first trip happened in August 2008 and the second in June 2009.

The amounts were paid from an FNB account belonging to Midway Two Holdings.

The tenders were for:

- Craftsmen for the police’s mechanical service.

- Labour for the police’s building service.

- Cleaning services for the police.

- The R1 billion two-way radio tetra communication network for the Eastern Cape.

- The hiring of qualified radio artisans, technicians and electronic systems engineers.

Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloka told The Sunday Independent they would go into the investigation with their eyes open and if any new information came to light, it would be investigated.

He would not confirm whether other former officers would be linked to their investigation or whether their investigation paralleled the SIU’s investigation.

Yesterday, Hlela could not be reached for comment at his Tshwane home.

Midway Two chief executive Danny Naicker did not respond to messages left for him.

Since 2010, the SIU has been probing Hlela and two other generals’ involvement in:

- The building of 33 police stations at a cost of R330m.

- The goods and services provided to the Forensic Science Laboratory.

- The procurement of certain leases for the SAPS.

- The procurement of information management systems.

- The manufacturing and supply of SAPS uniforms.

- The irregularities in awarding a R1bn radio communications tender in the Eastern Cape to the successful bidder.

The unit has also been asked to probe allegations that Midway Two sent Hlela on a fully-paid trip to the Rugby World Cup in Australia.

SIU spokesman Boy Ndala would not give details of the status of the probe, saying the investigation was still continuing.

The Sunday Independent has also seen affidavits from three former Midway Two employees detailing how they bribed police officers in exchange for tenders.

These include black refuse bags filled with meat, envelopes of money and responding to telephone calls asking for sponsorships.

One staffer, a former regional manager whose name is known to The Sunday Independent, explained how she delivered between one and two sheep to 14 police officers – including three generals and the late former provincial commissioner, Perumal Naidoo.

In the affidavit, the staffer states: “While being a regional manager I dealt with a lot of members of the SAPS. From time to time I would get a list of names from Jason Scholtz of people I had to deliver sheep to.”

She explained that they got the sheep from a regional manager in the Northern Cape as it came from a farm in the Karoo. “I did this maybe six times and it happened every two to three months.”

Hlela allegedly received his two sheep at his house in Garsfontein, according to the staffer. She would meet others at the Sasol Garage in Silverton or various locations.

“Provincial commissioner Perumal Naidoo also received sheep, I would go to his office and he would send down with his bold driver to his car in the basement.

“I offered sheep to Director Kruger of the Gauteng Province and he refused to accept any sheep... I stopped delivering sheep to these members of the SAPS once General Bheki Cele became the commissioner of police, as I was told that members were not allowed to receive gifts any more,” she states.

The staffer also details how she allegedly received a letter from Hlela asking for money for school fees for his child.

One of Hlela’s family members was allegedly working for Midway Two in the Eastern Cape as an area manager.

“General Siwundla’s son Tokka Nthunya is working in the accounts departments of the Gauteng branch of Midway Two.

“The son of the previous commissioner of the SAPS in KZN, General Ntoko Ngiti, was working as a regional manager of Midway Two in KZN as well.”

She explains how in December 2010 she accompanied another staff member after hours to a garage just off the highway in Pretoria.

“There I saw (my colleague) handing over an envelope containing money to Marlien van der Merwe. I saw that there was money in the envelope as it was not sealed.

“Daan would mention in the passages of the office that Marlien loves money, I know that Marlien works at the finance department of the SAPS and approved payments. Midway Two has a separate savings account in which double payments from the SAPS are transferred to and I understood that Marlien van der Merwe would get money out of this account,” she alleges.

Prior to the award of the last Democratic Cleaning Contract, Scholtz had told her in his office that “ (I) shouldn’t worry” as he had spoken to Hlela and he is sure that “we will be awarded the contract”. - Sunday Independent


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