Cansa defrauded of 'significant funds' over five years, employee sacked

A former employee of the Cancer Association of SA has been dismissed after a fraud probe.
A former employee of the Cancer Association of SA has been dismissed after a fraud probe.
Image: 123RF/Le Moal Olivier

The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) has opened a criminal case and strengthened its internal financial controls after uncovering extensive fraud by an employee, who has now been dismissed.

Cansa's board of directors said the organisation had lost "significant funds".

After a red flag was raised during an internal audit, the board commissioned an independent forensic investigation, it said in a statement.

"The independent forensic investigation confirmed that an employee unlawfully misappropriated funds for personal gain. The investigation uncovered that the employee was not working alone, making the fraud more difficult to detect.

"Further investigations then revealed that the fraud was committed over a period of five years, resulting in a substantial loss."

Elize Joubert, Cansa’s CEO, said the fraud was only uncovered recently.

"As soon as we became aware of this, we immediately started an investigation, that uncovered this dishonest and unscrupulous act."

Disciplinary procedures were instituted, after which the employee was dismissed, and criminal charges were laid.

Cansa said it is pursuing all legal avenues to recover the stolen funds and minimise the losses incurred.

The board added a further independent investigation is currently under way to ensure that the full extent of Cansa’s exposure is uncovered and to recommend internal control process and governance improvements to prevent similar occurrences in future.

The audit by the external auditors, of the financial statements for the year ended March 31 2019, has been extended to take into account the outcomes of this investigation.

Joubert said, "We want to reassure the public that we have already strengthened our internal financial controls. As an NPO, we will continue to strive to ensure donor funding is used for the intended purposes and keep donor funds safe."

In September last year, another Cansa employee was jailed for two years on a charge of defrauding the organisation out of more than R300,000 in an electricity payment scam. Phadi Jim Maboea, 37, was convicted on 309 counts of fraud by the Bloemfontein magistrate's court.

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