Alex Japho Matlala
Seven officials, including a senior manager, are allegedly involved in the fraud.
The Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo has discovered another alleged financial fraud, in what critics say has become a haven for fraud and corruption in the province.
The incident happened barely two years after criminals got off with R19 million in two separate incidents between 2018 and 2019.
The Citizen learnt that on 13 April, the municipality’s acting chief financial officer (CFO), Colbert Mufamadi, went to the Groblersdal police station where he laid charges of fraud involving more than R250 000.
The money was allegedly illegally transferred into two different accounts belonging to a service provider, which was providing legal services for the beleaguered municipality. Seven officials, including a senior manager, are allegedly involved in the fraud.
Hawks Limpopo spokesman Captain Matimba Maluleke confirmed that police were investigating a case of fraud at the municipality.
Maluleke said no arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.
Yesterday, the municipality confirmed the incident, saying R273 000 was illegally paid into the accounts by officials working in the office of the CFO.
“The irregular payment was made into two fraudulent accounts in April this year,” said the municipality in a statement in response to a media inquiry.
The municipality’s executive mayor Stan Ramaila told The Citizen he had appointed the services of the financial misconduct board, a committee that is chaired by an independent member of the audit committee, to investigate the payment.
“The board is entrusted to investigate the matter within a stipulated time and report back to council, which will then decide which route to take, pending the outcome of the investigations,” said Ramaila.
“We opened a case of fraud with the police to investigate this matter because we take this case in a very serious light. Those who are found guilty of wrongdoing must know that their place is in jail.”
Two years ago, several officials, including section 54 and 56 managers, were suspended and others were fired following a string of corruption incidents that saw the embattled municipality losing millions of rands through fraudulent means.
Among them were officials who deposited R5.4 million and R12 million into wrong accounts and those who appointed companies for R26 million Covid-19 projects without following relevant supply chain management policies.
Ramaila said, through the help of the police and other law enforcement agencies, the municipality was able to track down the suspects.
“Some of them are currently unemployed while others are behind bars,” he added.
The Citizen understands the official who spilled the beans about the fraud incident has been asked to furnish reasons by the office of the municipal manager, Maureen Ntshudisane, why he should not be suspended.