Disgraced SA high commissioner fired after drug conviction exposé

Hazel Francis Ngubeni. Image via Youtube.

Hazel Francis Ngubeni. Image via Youtube.

A Sunday paper was able to uncover Hazel Ngubeni’s drug-trafficking past, which the State Security Agency somehow missed.

The woman who allegedly duped officials in government by accepting a high-level diplomatic post as high commissioner to Singapore while she had a criminal record has now been fired, according to the Sunday Times.

The paper reported in October that Ngubeni had been jailed twice for drug smuggling when she worked for national carrier SAA. This was confirmed by spokesman Tlali Tlali.

During a vetting process by the State Security Agency (SSA), Ngubeni is said to have lied, omitting to state she had a criminal record. In 1999 to 2001, she spent two years in a New York prison for smuggling a bag of cocaine. In 1995, the 55-year-old was arrested for smuggling 9kg of heroine from Thailand to South Africa.

It is alleged she asked a colleague to carry a bag containing a false compartment with drugs for him. They were released from prison after a witness declined to testify against them in 1997.

Ngubeni eventually confirmed her conviction, telling the weekly she had asked her colleague to carry her bags, finding out later they were filled with drugs.

“She was arrested, convicted and sent to jail, which made her unable to render any service to her employer,” said Tlali Tlali.

Department of international relations spokesman Nelson Kgwete said an investigation would be carried out to establish the facts. On Friday, he said her contract had been revoked following the withdrawal of her SSA security clearance.

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