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Former SAPS colonel sentenced for fraud

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A former South African Police Service (SAPS) colonel was sentenced to a R30 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to submitting fraudulent travel claims in the Kimberley regional court on Tuesday.

Illustration of a hammer used once a judge has reached a verdict in a case.

A former South African Police Service (SAPS) colonel was sentenced to a R30 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to submitting fraudulent travel claims in the Kimberley Regional Court on Tuesday.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson, Nomthandazo Mnisi said the accused Avril Christopher Wentzel, 57, was employed at the Northern Cape SAPS Detective unit in Kimberley.

She stated that the accused submitted several fraudulent travel claims during 2014.

“He misused his state benefit of the middle management service (MMS) scheme when he received an undue payment of approximately R47 000.”

Mnisi indicated that the abuse of the subsistence and travel allowance was uncovered in 2015.

“This led to an in-depth probe by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team into the fraudulent claims.

“On completion of the investigation, Wentzel was served with summons in October 2019 to appear in the Kimberley Regional Court.

“He pleaded guilty on 19 counts of fraud and was sentenced to a fine of R30 000 or 12 months imprisonment. He was furthermore served with an additional five years imprisonment, that will be suspended for a period of five years, on condition that he is not found guilty of fraud during the period of suspension that was imposed on him.”

The National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the conviction and sentence.

“I would like to commend the investigation team that conducted this investigation without fear, favour or prejudice. It is unfortunate that a senior official who is a commissioned officer that has been bestowed on him by the state President, has succumbed to the temptation of looting the public purse. May honest serving members appreciate the fact that crime does not pay and that those who betray their oath of office by committing crime will never go unpunished.”

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