Top education official among three arrested for R300,000 fraud in Mpumalanga

Three employees of the department of education in Mpumalanga including an assistant director were arrested by the Hawks this week.
Three employees of the department of education in Mpumalanga including an assistant director were arrested by the Hawks this week.
Image: Leon Swart/123rf.com

Three employees of the Mpumalanga department of education including an assistant director were arrested by the Hawks this week.

Johan Mandla Mathabela, 62, Sibongile Linah Mathabela, 40, and Gloria Mhlanga, 54,  were arrested for fraud and corruption allegedly committed over a period of three years.    

They appeared at the Kabokweni magistrate’s court on Friday.

“The Hawks’ investigation has revealed in the period 2015 to 2018, the Mathabelas (who are not related) colluded and siphoned about R 300,000 from the department. The money was transferred into an account held by the Masoyi-based Valencia Day Care Centre owned by Linah Mathabela. The pair reportedly shared the ill-gotten funds.

“The above amount was allegedly transferred on different dates by another official in the accounts section of the department. The official, who is a state accountant, is yet to be arrested and arrangements have been made for her to appear in court on Monday as she is reportedly out of the province,” said spokesperson, Capt Lloyd Ramovha.

Further investigations uncovered that Mhlanga colluded with the same accountant resulting in about R272 000 being transferred into Simunye Day Care Centre, which is owned by Mhlanga.  

“The investigation has additionally established that both these day-care centres are not registered with the department,” said Ramovha.

 The trio were expected to appear at the same court soon — for bail applications.

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