‘I made false invoices for Mabaso’

2013-02-06 00:00

A FORMER employee of fraud accused Jabulani Mabaso has admitted to creating false invoices that were submitted to the Department of Education (DOE) in support of an R81 million claim for the supply of stationary by Mabaso’s company, Indiza Infrastructure Solutions.

The department ultimately never paid out the money.

Gillian Broughton testified in the Pietermaritzburg high court that she had acted at all times on Mabaso’s instructions.

Although he had not specifically told her to forge the invoices in question, his instruction to her had been to “do it the same way as before”.

She had based the invoices on a template and documents forwarded to her via e-mail by her predecessor, Paul de Villiers, changing only the contents.

She admitted having created the false invoices in the name of stationery suppliers, Palm Stationers, as well as Mabaso’s company, African Spirits, where she was employed as financial manager.

Broughton told Acting Judge Kobus Booyens that Palm Stationers had no knowledge of the fake invoice created in their name.

Under cross examination by Mabaso’s advocate Willie Vermeulen SC, Broughton said she knew that what she did was wrong. “I realised that I should have done something about it, but I didn’t,” she said.

She told the court that she was unable to say why she did nothing about it.

Broughton said Mabaso “must have known 100%” what was going on.

She also told the court, however, that she was not under the impression that the department had required Indiza to supply stationery to it at cost, and said she understood that the DOE was happy to pay the prices reflected in Indiza’s catalogue which contained a mark-up of 40 to 45%.

She testified that during 2007 she was in Johannesburg when she received a call from a Mr Ramburran from the DOE, who wanted to verify the details of African Spirits and Palm Stationers which appeared on the invoices.

“At this point I realised the implications of having manufactured those invoices,” she said.

Broughton said she immediately telephoned a Mr Desai at Palm Stationers and explained to him what had been done.

She also called Mabaso but could not recall what he’d said.

She thereafter sent Mabaso an e-mail, asking for advice on how to proceed.

Broughton said Mabaso didn’t reply to the e-mail, a copy of which is an exhibit in court.

Broughton testified that at a subsequent meeting at Palm Stationers the subject was raised with Mabaso, but he refused to discuss the matter.

She said she resigned later that week because she was not comfortable about the way the issue was dealt with.

“I left my employment at the end of May [2007], a day after the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Scorpions arrived at the offices,” she said.

She subsequently made a statement to the Scorpions and also handed over her laptop to them.

Mabaso has pleaded not guilty to a total of 18 counts of fraud, forgery and uttering involving about R200 million.

In a statement setting out his defence, he said he understood that his company, Indiza, was entitled to profit from the provision of stationery to schools in terms of the company’s agreement with the DOE.

Mabaso also said he had no knowledge about alleged incorrect or false suppliers’ invoices being presented to the DOE.

The case is proceeding.

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