Family charged with defrauding KZN education dept of R8m

2015-12-10 19:15
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Durban – Four suspects would appear in the Ladysmith Regional Court in January for allegedly defrauding the KwaZulu-Natal education department of R8m, local police said on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said the suspects, aged between 30 and 54, allegedly committed the crime between January 2005 and October 2009.

Police sources close to the investigation told News24 that the Durban commercial crime unit had been requested to investigate fraud allegations at the KwaZulu-Natal department of education’s Ukhahlamba regional service centre.

The source said, in the initial stages, police interviewed a whistleblower who alleged suppliers were irregularly securing contracts for goods or services through cover-quoting, in contravention of procurement policies and procedures.

"Mohammed Saleem Saleem has been charged with colluding with his wife Naseema Banu Banu, his daughter Sumaya Shaik and his sister-in-law Yasmin Bibi Dawood Shaik to register close corporations and companies with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and Kwazulu-Natal provincial treasury supplier database," he said.

In some instances, Saleem registered a close corporation on behalf of his relatives and submitted three invoices to create the impression that they were different applications.

The source said, consequently, the successful bidder was either Saleem’s entity or the entities he used when cover-quoting.

“The department has suffered prejudice to the value of R8,1 million as a result of the unlawful actions,” the source said.

Cover-quoting refers to a procurement irregularly designed to undermine the cost efficiency of purchases by compromising the competitive bidding process.

In cover-quoting, alternative quotes are obtained from, or prepared in, the name of related parties.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara confirmed the suspects had first appeared in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on August 31 and that the matter had been adjourned to January 15 2016.

KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the department was confident the law would take its course.

"This arrest should deter other people from committing the same crime. People must know they are putting their jobs at risk when they make such decision," Mlotshwa said.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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