Former Police Colonel found guilty of travel claims fraud

NORTHERN CAPE – A 57-year-old Avril Christopher Wentzel, a former Colonel of the South African Police Service (SAPS) pleaded guilty at Kimberley Regional Court today on nineteen counts of fraud.

Wentzel who worked at the Provincial Detective in Kimberly for the SAPS in Northern Cape submitted several fraudulent travel claims in 2014. He misused his state benefit of the Middle Management Service (MMS) scheme when he received an undue payment of approximately R47 000.00.

His abuse of the subsistence and Travel allowance was uncovered in 2015 which prompted 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 at Kimberley Regional Court.

He pleaded guilty on nineteen counts of fraud which culminated to his conviction. He was subsequently sentenced to a fine of R30 000 or 12 months imprisonment. Furthermore, an additional five years imprisonment, suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not found guilty of fraud during the period of suspension 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 the honest serving members appreciate that crime does not pay and that those who betray their oath of office by committing crime will never go unpunished”, said Lieutenant General Lebeya.

Source: South African Police Service

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