30 fined for housing subsidy scam

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Public servants who swindled housing subsidies at the expense of the poor were yesterday fined heavily in the Pietermaritzburg regional court.

Thirty one officials appeared before magistrate Paul Abelman.

All but one of the accused pleaded guilty to the charges of fraud and pledged to pay back all the money to the state, including interest, within five years or less.

They will, however, not lose the houses they acquired fraudulently.

The group falsified their details to qualify for government subsidised houses.

The sentencing of the 30 government officials came barely a month after 29 public servants were sentenced in the same court after pleading guilty to similar offences and undertook to pay back the money.

More culprits are expected to be brought before the courts soon, according to the provincial department of housing.

The offenders will keep the houses as long as they adhere to the conditions in the admission of debt they signed, failing which the suspended sentences will become effective and their salaries will be garnisheed, the department said.

MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, pictured, said the judgment was an unequivocal endorsement of their campaign to fight fraud and corruption in the allocation of houses.