KZN Blind and Deaf Society fires director after millions went missing on her watch

2019-03-05 15:30


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The director of the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, Shamilla Surjoo, has been fired after it emerged that millions of rands belonging to the organisation was embezzled on her watch.

Speaking to The Witness on Monday, president of the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society Justice Zak Yacoob said the organisation undertook disciplinary proceedings against Surjoo for “gross negligence”.

“We were not happy with the way in which she had done her work. She didn’t go into the payrolls properly and she did not supervise the financial officer properly,” said Yacoob.

At this stage, Yacoob said Surjoo is not implicated directly in the fraud but is facing disciplinary procedures for allegedly not having sufficient oversight and management controls in place to have prevented the fraud.

“As a full time director, she had the greater responsibility to keep watch of the account because it was her duty. We were not there full time, she was in full control and therefore must take responsibility for it.”

Yacoob said alarm bells were rung last January when R100 000 went missing from the account. Over a six-year period, an estimated R12 million was stolen. “Upon close inspection, we discovered that there was an online banking facility that was being used for illegal transactions,” said Yacoob.

He said the suspect was criminally charged, while the long-standing director of the organisation was served with a suspension letter last Wednesday.

The director’s disciplinary action is expected to be completed on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed they were investigating a case of fraud against a 27-year-old employee who had online authority for four of the organisation’s bank accounts and has been allegedly transferring funds into her personal accounts since 2013.

The scandal has forced Yacoob to voluntarily take over the reins from the director.

He said the organisation has no reserves and it was now trying to get more donations.

“We have got some good donations but if we work hard we can keep the society alive. There is no chance of any theft now. We have learned from our mistakes.”

Attempts to get hold of Surjoo on Monday were unsuccessful as her cell phone was switched off.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  corruption

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