Ex-Cogta man convicted of fraud blames gambling addiction

2014-01-31 00:00

A FORMER employee of the Department of Co-operative Governance (Cogta) who pleaded guilty yesterday to five counts of corruption, fraud and theft by false pretences involving R41 650, blamed his gambling addiction for his crimes.

Isaac Naicker (34) committed the crimes between 2006 and 2012 while he was working in the human resources department at Cogta.

In terms of a plea agreement negotiated by his attorney Kameel Jagernath and state advocate Yuri Gangai, Naicker was ordered to compensate four of his victims — Prudence Mthembu, Maritha Gumede, Musawenkosi Nxumalo and Xolisile Khumalo — for the various sums of money he took from them, totalling R41 650.

He was not ordered to repay the R3 800 he corruptly elicited from a fifth victim, Nokuthula Cynthia Gabuza, because he was arrested by members of the Organised Crime Unit directly after he was paid the money at the Umfolozi Casino near Empangeni on October 3, 2012, and the money was taken away from him.

In addition to compensating his victims, Naicker was also sentenced by regional court magistrate Rose Mogwera to four years’ imprisonment, which was suspended for four years, and was ordered to attend Gamblers Anonymous and submit himself to any programmes the organisation deems necessary.

In a statement to court, Naicker said he was deeply remorseful for what he did and he appreciates the magnitude of his actions.

He said he resigned from his job as a result of a guilty conscience and would never be in a position to act in a corrupt manner again.

He is also already undergoing rehabilitation for his gambling addiction, which he blames for his “desperation” leading to the crimes.

Naicker said he has been attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings for the past seven months and has already completed various rehabilitative programmes.

He said he would always have his conviction “hanging over his head”, had compromised a steady job and would never be able to cast off the “shadow cast upon himself”.

Naicker admitted that he corruptly obtained payment of R3 800 from Nokuthula Gabuza by pretending that the money was due to SARS; he obtained R8 000 from Prudence Mthembu, whose husband had died, on a pretext that the money was required to process her pension payment; he persuaded Maritha Gum-ede to pay R5 400 on a pretext that it was money she owed Cogta as a result of a pension miscalculation; he defrauded Musawenkosi Nxumalo of R5 500 by telling him that his job was at risk, but that if he paid him the money he would be able to arrange another job for him; and finally he stole a total of R23 250 from Xolisile Khumalo by falsely pretending to her that he could expedite her mother’s pension payout as well as arrange a government job for her.

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