Hamilton Hlela. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu.
The standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) is seething after the police, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) took a “slap on the wrist” approach to dealing with former deputy national commissioner of police Hamilton Hlela, who was convicted of graft.

Scopa members say they’re disappointed that Hlela, a former head of procurement in the police, was charged and found guilty of corruption but received only a 10-year suspended sentence.

Hlela, who has been implicated in corruption charges amounting to R1.3 billion, allegedly received kickbacks in return for the awarding of contracts to two companies.

One of the companies in question had allegedly paid tuition fees for Hlela’s children amounting to thousands of rand.

ANC MP Nyami Booi questioned why the police failed to detect that Hlela was involved in such dealings.

Acting National Commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba admitted they needed to improve their systems to be able to pick up officials involved in wrongdoing much earlier.

The NPA was not spared either for its decision to take an offer of a guilty plea for the accused to receive a light sentence.

The NPA said this was part of the justice system but admitted it would have to review the plea agreements. Hlela had been with the police for many years and was forced into early retirement after he was arrested and convicted of corruption.

Scopa first questioned the process of the case in March when the ACTT, which has since managed to secure a confiscation order of R76000 against Hlela, made an appearance in Parliament.

NPA boss Shaun Abrahams agreed they would table a report later. The report that was tabled to Scopa said the amounts of the tenders to the companies was R1.3bn.

“The accused was a lieutenant-general attached to the bid adjudication committee of the SAPS. 

“He received kickbacks from entities in return for the award of contracts for the procurement of goods and services to the two entities,” said the NPA report.

“He was sentenced to 10 years suspended for five years plus a confiscation order in the amount of R76000 in terms of section 18 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act which was the amount benefited from the corrupt activities,” said the report. 

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said MPs were outraged at the light sentences some of the officials received.

Parliament wanted much tougher sentences to send a message to any person or official involved in corruption that the law would not be biased towards them.

Weekend Argus Sunday