Another bad police story – our zero this week is former deputy national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Hamilton Hlela, who has pleaded guilty in Pretoria’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Court to corruption and receiving kickbacks.
The gratifications came from Midway Two Holdings, a company that was awarded tenders to the value of R4 billion between 2007 and 2008 by the South African Police Service’s bid adjudication committee, which Hlela chaired. Three companies in the Midway group were awarded lucrative tenders to the value of R4-billion while he held this position.
Midway subsequently splashed out on two Durban holidays for Hlela and his wife, and school and university fees for his two sons, the court heard, to the tune of R76 203. Hlela has been ordered to pay back the money and if he doesn’t, his swanky Mercedes ML500 will be confiscated.
Some may argue that, compared with other corruption-related amounts bandied about these days, Hlela’s booty was small. But he manipulated the system for personal gain, and whether the reward is a packet of cookies or thousands of rands, the deed was corrupt. There should be no impunity.
An interesting twist – 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.
In 2010 Nedbank and businessman Roux Shabangu entered into a loan agreement to buy the Sanlam Middestad building for R220-million – which Shabangu would then lease to the police, as their new headquarters, for R614-million a month.
This deal was struck with Cele without following tender process.