Civil workers face fraud

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Two government officials Thulani Ngubane and Maxwell Mkhize made a brief appearance in the Pietermaritzburg magistrate's court yesterday on charges of fraud amounting to R1.8 million.

Ngubane is the financial clerk at the South African Social Services Agency (SASSA), which is tasked with payments of pensions and other government grants.

Mkhize works for the department of education in Ulundi.

They were arrested on Monday in Ulundi and Pietermaritzburg, respectively, after a three week-long joint investigation by the Commercial Crime Unit and SASSA.

SASSA spokesman, Vusi Makhaye, said that the investigations were conducted after they discovered that there were some financial irregularities.

"One of the suspects works in our financial section, while the other works for the department of education.

"It was established that they managed to steal or copy someone's code to make invoices or payments to suppliers without rendering any services.

"The three payments in question were all made after hours, using stolen passwords," said Makhaye.

He said the official from SASSA was suspended until internal processes were completed and correct punitive measures sanctioned.

Dianne Dunkerley, SASSA's acting regional executive manager, KwaZulu-Natal, said they will act decisively against fraudsters.

"Fraud and corruption must be dealt with severely wherever it is detected. We want employees that are committed to clean governance and corruption-free Agency.

"As SASSA we want to reiterate our commitment to fight fraud and corruption at all costs."

Further arrests of other suspected syndicate members are expected shortly.

The case was remanded until tomorrow for further investigations.