The Pretoria Regional Court on Wednesday sentenced Major-General Solomon Lazarus, who headed the crime intelligence slush fund, to 10 years behind bars in the “abuse of the Secret Service slush fund” case involving former senior crime intelligence personnel.
A former chief financial officer (CFO) of the agency’s secret service account, Lazarus had motivated and approved the purchasing of vehicles crime intelligence would use in covert operations.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) had created a company, Universal Technical Enterprises CC, that would purchase the vehicles from an identified dealer, Atlantis Motors, using money from the account.
Money from a special account Lazarus and his co-accused had set up, which sourced money from the secret service account, was used to buy a KIA Picanto from Atlantis Motors, which would be used by Lazarus’s daughter and was registered in his wife’s name. The car cost R55,000.
Additionally, R39,193.78 was used from the special account to buy an all-terrain Honda vehicle and R27,432.29 was used to purchase a Honda CBR motorbike for Lazarus’s son.
Co-accused Colonel Heine Barnard, a former supply chain manager, allegedly also instructed that an amount of R116,313.58 from the special account be used as a shortfall for a Nissan Murano priced at R466,313.58 which Lazarus was prepared to finance for R350,000. Barnard was acquitted on all charges
The vehicle was later sold for R420,505.32 during March 2011 by the principal dealer at Atlantis Motors and an amount of R116,506.84 was deposited in an account Lazarus had identified.
Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate, Sindisiwe Twala, said all of the undue benefits towards Lazarus were valued at a total of R237,939.65.
Twala said Lazarus derived benefit from 2006 to 2011, using money which belonged to the state.
Lazarus’s sentencing comes after he was convicted of corruption.
Investigating Directorate head, Hermione Cronje, has welcomed the sentence.
‘’Today on International Anti-Corruption Day we are pleased to have our very first conviction and sentencing since the inception of the ID,” Cronje said.
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu