Officials probed over R1m fraud

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga premier's office is investigating how two education department officials bypassed the internal payment system and defrauded the government of nearly R1million.

Although the education department refused to give names, Sowetan can reveal that Thokozani Mndawo and S'mangaliso Mabaso, both financial administrators in the Ehlanzeni region, have been suspended on allegations of misappropriation of funds.

They allegedly used their positions to transfer more than R994000 into the account of Blue Raindrops Trading.

In the bank statement, which is in Sowetan's possession, a total of R994500 is shown to have been deposited into the account of Blue Raindrops at three different times in one day.

The statement shows that R229500 was deposited into the company's account on the morning of July 31.

At about lunch time the same day an amount of R455000 was deposited into the same account, and then R310000 in the afternoon.

This brought the total amount deposited into Blue Raindrops' account in one day to R994500.

Blue Raindrops is a company involved in catering and supplying stationery to the provincial government.

Hlahla Ngwenya, the education department's spokesman, has confirmed that both Mndawo and Mabaso had been suspended.

"They are still being paid and unless our investigations prove that they are guilty, they remain officials of the department," said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya said that whoever had transferred the money into the company's account was very conversant with the department's technical operations.

He said everyone in the department had a limit on the amount of money they could transfer to outside accounts.

"The functions of the departmental payment system are very strict and advanced and it would take only an expert in that field to bypass the system," said Ngwenya.