Agriculture Dept hit by fraud

2011-05-04 00:00

POLICE in Pietermaritzburg are dealing with a string of fraud cases involving the Agriculture Department, which have been reported since early last year.

They are investigating 13 cases, reported at Hilton police station, in which the department has been defrauded of about R4 million.

The Witness has a list of case numbers indicating that the latest 10 cases were reported last month and that they amount to more than R1,4 million.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said the recent cases are in addition to cases involving R2,5 million that were reported at the same police station early this year.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture Department, Zakhele Nyuswa, confirmed that the department has reported the cases to the police.

“These are fraud cases which were done through misrepresentation. They involve companies,” Nyuswa said.

When asked what is delaying the arrests since other cases were reported early this year, Nyuswa said, “Unfortunately I cannot speak on behalf of police because we have done our duty by reporting the crimes.

Jeevan confirmed there are 13 cases of fraud committed in the Department of Agriculture that are being investigated.

She said that at this stage no one has been arrested and that police are still investigating.

The alleged crimes, which mainly involve the “mispresentation of documents”, were committed between September 2008 and March 2009.

It is believed that these cases were reported in April this year after an audit discovered that there was money missing.

The missing money was supposed to have been allocated for renovations to the department’s offices at the Quarry Centre in Hilton.

“Auditors discovered that during September 2008 contracts to do renovations were approved, but the work was either not finished or not started at all. We believe that those renovations were supposed to be done on offices. In some cases the (building material) suppliers were not paid. However, police are still dealing with the investigation,” Jeevan said.

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