Ex-official on trial for fraud

2007-12-11 00:00

A former Welfare Department employee yesterday appeared in the Durban Commercial Court for a bail application after she was arrested on 102 counts of fraud and an additional 150 corruption counts amounting to over R1 million.

Lillian Zethu Mkhize (50) is one of 18 people who allegedly defrauded the department of over R17 million in Ezingolweni on the south coast.

Apparently, Mkhize worked as a department clerk. She resigned when investigations began early this year. She allegedly had agents who would trace applicants of child grants and then provide her with copies of certified birth certificates that she used to process fraudulent claims.

Magistrate Logan Naidoo granted her R20 000 bail, noting that, although she is a first offender and has co-operated with police during investigations, she was facing serious charges.

Department MEC Meshack Radebe, who attended the case, said this kind of fraud has consequences: people are starving. He added that three other people, who have since been convicted of similar charges, said she was the official who worked with them, pocketing R660 280 since the year started. She was allegedly on the verge of stealing R370 531 when she was arrested.

Investigators on the case are adamant that 17 arrests will be made before the week ends.

sne@witness.co.za

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