Almost 1 000 corrupt cops still in service

2010-09-12 10:10

Nearly 1 ?000 police officials ­convicted of fraud escaped being sacked ­because the Public Service ­Commission (PSC) felt the impact of “firing huge numbers of people” would be too great.

This comes as more than 15 000 civil servants have already been convicted of fraud for illegally ­receiving social grants.

Thousands more face prosecution after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found nearly 100 000 civil servants have ­defrauded the state by claiming ­social grants.

The head of the SIU, Willie Hofmeyr, confirmed that his unit had identified 96?000 civil ­servants that have committed ­social grant fraud.

The investigation has been ­conducted only at national and provincial level and more public servants will be implicated when the SIU probes local ­government and state agencies.

The SIU, which investigates maladministration and corruption ­within the public sector and ­institutes civil proceedings to ­recover losses, has been investigating social grant fraud for the past five years.

“Social grant fraud is very ­serious and is everywhere,” said Hofmeyr.

“When we started this investigation, I never thought the numbers would be so high.”

Convicted civil servants have ­entered into plea agreements with the National Prosecuting ­Authority.

They have to ­repay the stolen money with ­interest.

Hofmeyr said he has since 2006 handed over more than 10 000 ­disciplinary cases to various state departments.
Among them were 945 SA Police Service employees – many of whom were police officers.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo said this week that about 350 police officers had ­received written warnings and “others ­received dismissals which were suspended for six months”.

Lieutenant-General Bonang Mgwenya, chief operations officer in the office of national police commissioner Bheki Cele, said on Friday that the cases were “categorised” by ­seriousness and “dealt with in batches”.

“The process was informed by decisions and guidelines from the Public Service Commission,” said Mgwenya.

Lieutenant-General Gary Kruser, acting head of supply chain management in the SAPS, said the PSC “took a decision because there were so many people .?.?. there were going to be huge numbers they had to fire”.

The PSC could not readily ­confirm whether such a directive was sent to all departments where officials have been implicated or found guilty of fraud.

The departments contacted by City Press confirmed that they handed final written warnings or suspended sentences to the implicated officials.

Most of the convicted officials work in the health and education departments.

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