Two employees who worked for the City of Johannesburg’s group finance department have been suspended for allegedly fraudulently transferring R800 000 to a company of attorneys, Fourways Review reports.
Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba announced their suspension in a statement on January 29.
The mayor said the two ex-employees were part of a syndicate who swindled money from a customer’s account and transferred it to an attorney’s trust account before requesting payment for it.
“Chief among our priorities has been the process of recovering this money from the attorneys. We will also be laying criminal charges against both the internal and external [members] of this syndicate and will make sure that everyone involved faces the full might of the law,” he said.
On 22 January, another city official and two accomplices who worked in the revenue department, were arrested for trying to solicit a bribe.
The City has uncovered fraud and corruption of R16.2 billion since establishing its investigation services. The financial department accounted for more than R8 billion of the total amount of fraud and corruption.
“In the context of the City’s billing challenges, acts of corruption only worsen the difficult circumstances in which our residents have been forced to live for years,” Mashaba said.
According to Mashaba 18 people had already been arrested in connection with fraud and corruption – some worked in the revenue department, while others are members of the public.
“I am disappointed to learn that there are officials who are still engaged in corrupt activities. This, despite the fact that we continually educate employees about fraud and corruption, and despite the fact that we have made it clear that corruption will not be tolerated in the City of Johannesburg.”
The finance department has been affected by recent arrests, even at the very top of the ladder. Finance MMC Dr Rabelani Dagada was removed from his post earlier this month because he had allegedly influenced a tender to be awarded to an old friend.
Although he was not arrested, Dagada will face an inquiry by the DA’s Federal Legal Commission, and will also appear before the Council Ethics Committee. Dagada remains adamant, however, that he is innocent and that these inquiries will prove this.
To report any fraud and corruption activities, contact the 24-hour tip-off hotline on 0800 002 587 or visit the group forensic and investigation services offices at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein.