Home Affairs chops ‘crooked’ officials

2010-04-26 13:09

The Department of Home Affairs in Phuthaditjhaba, Free State, seems to be on a mission to rid itself of fraud and corruption.

Last week, five employees of the department were dismissed after they were found to have produced fraudulent birth certificates.

According to a source, the fraudulent documents were found on their computer systems. He said hearings were instituted in February, where the five were found guilty of fraud and gross negligence.

They were served with letters of dismissal last week. A manager at the regional office confirmed this but refused to elaborate. Two of the employees have denied the charges against them, citing that the presiding officer did not afford them a fair hearing.

One claimed that she was not working for the department when the fraudulent documents were produced.

She said when a union official representing her presented a letter of appointment at the hearing it was not taken into consideration.

Another employee said she was on maternity leave at the time the fraudulent documents were produced. She said she was not aware who had accessed her (computer) system then. The department said it would look into the matter.

It also said officials could be charged with gross negligence if they denied knowledge of fraudulent documents found in their systems because they are the only ones expected to have access to it.

The five officials are still working at the department, pending an appeal hearing.

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