Hawks arrest in clock shocker

2016-05-31 09:30
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Pietermaritzburg - A Msunduzi municipal employee who was arrested for allegedly defrauding the municipality with R385 000 in an overtime scandal, was released on bail of R8 000 on Monday.

Reeaz Paruk, a foreman at the municipality’s electricity department, is accused of abusing overtime benefits and of submitting fraudulent overtime claims.

Paruk made a brief appearance at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court, where he was granted the bail.

Paruk had been detained by the Hawks and was criminally charged after an Msunduzi internal audit unit investigation implicated him in alleged overtime fraud.

Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Simphiwe Mhlongo said the directorate had acted after receiving information. “We waited until we had gathered sufficient evidence that would stand up in a court of law before arresting him. He will appear again in the same court on June 21 facing charges of fraud,” he said.

The municipality’s internal audit unit had initiated a probe of allegations of the abuse of overtime benefits.

The investigation fingered Paruk in alleged abuse of overtime benefits spanning from the 2012/13 to the 2014/15 financial year.

The Witness understands that Paruk has subsequently been suspended from work.

How Paruk had managed to defraud the municipality of large amounts of the money in the past three financial years, still remained unclear.

Asked why it had taken the municipality this long to probe the matter, Msunduzi municipal acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda declined to comment, saying it is currently before the courts.

“However it should be pointed out that the municipality is continuously strengthening systems of internal control and governance to limit exposure to similar cases in the future,” she said.

An employee of the municipality who asked not to be named, said there was always something that did not “add up” with Paruk’s claims.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hawks  |  arrest

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