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Government names and shames corrupt individuals

Written by Albert Pule
Government has released the names of individuals who have been convicted of fraud and corruption to shame them in public.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff RadebeThe Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said during a press conference, that the names were released to send a clear message that fraudsters and corrupt individuals have no place in both the public and private sectors.

“The aim is to send a strong message to criminals that their actions will not go without scrutiny in the public domain. To this effect, it also aims to deter others from engaging in corrupt and criminal activities”.

The department released the names of 42 individuals who were convicted for committing fraud involving large sums of money. Other names from a long list of over 3000 convicted individuals will be released later.

Minister Jeff Radebe said members of a syndicate have been imprisoned for defrauding the Post Bank of an amount of R42 million by channeling funds into their personal accounts. “Boy Meshack Thekiso, David Mtsoane and Teboho Masoleng were sentenced to 25 years, 15 years and 15 years respectively while the case against Kabelo Kekana is still ongoing and postponed to 22 July for further investigations,” said the Minister.

In a case involving the Department of Minerals and Energy, employees were arrested for using technology to activate the profiles of people who no longer worked for the department.

They then used these profiles to record, confirm and approve payments to these ghost workers on the system.

Payments totaling R15 million were then made using these re-activated profiles. Two syndicate members Petros Mngomezulu and Simon Zungu have been convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

Another syndicate gained access to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) systems in Midrand with the assistance of a SARS employee and a consultant contracted by SARS. They changed banking details on the system to divert fraudulent refunds to the value of R77 million into their bank accounts.

Six individuals, AliRaza Naqvi, Mazhar Raza Syed, Zaheer Seedat, Samuel Thabo Gouwe, Audella Makhubu and Fiza Naqvi were arrested and convicted. Three of them were sentenced to an effective 24 years imprisonment while the other three were given 10 year sentence suspended for 5 years.

The Alfred Nzo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape was defrauded of R28 million through payments of ghost employees, tender overpayments, fraudulent vouchers and requisition orders. Three employees, Clementina Hlabi, Joyce Ngcawe and D N Sopoli were arrested and convicted.

The minister also announced that criminal investigations are underway against 242 suspects in 89 high priority cases involving serious corrupt incidents. These involve R5 million or more per incident.

Further investigations are progressing against 193 suspects. A total of 152 employees in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster of government departments were convicted for corruption, Minister Radebe said.

The cluster’s anticorruption task team (ACTT), an interdepartmental body, has been involved in fast-tracking investigations into high-priority cases. Statistics released by the ACTT show that 758 people were under investigation for corrupt activities and orders freezing R1 billion had been obtained.

The R1 billion includes forfeiture orders for R14 million brought against former Land Bank CEO Philemon Mohlahlane and Gauteng businessman Dan Mofokeng. The two were accused of defrauding the Land Bank and transferring funds to a range of outside entities for their own benefit.

Director General of Justice and Constitutional Development, Nonkululeko Sindane, added that the releasing of the names is an attempt by the department to get rid of the stigma of corruption often attached to the Public Service.

"If we didn’t do this people would continue to allege gross corruption and maladministration by government and we are trying to rid ourselves of that image, where for instances its justified because of the few individuals who are ripping government off," added Sindane.

Corruption Watch’s Executive Director David Lewis welcomed the naming and shaming, describing it as a "serious commitment" towards dealing with the problem and added that government needs to do more to fight corruption.

He called on the Department of Public Service and Administration to set up a body that is dedicated to effectively clamping down on corruption in the Public Sector.