UJ denies suspending fraud accused managers

2017-07-31 16:48
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - The University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday denied suspending two senior council members over alleged fraud, involving a reported R25m, at a commercialisation unit.

"They have not been suspended. They stepped down," said UJ spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen.

The Sunday Independent reported that UJ council chairperson Professor Roy Marcus and deputy vice-chancellor of finance Jaco van Schoor had been suspended with pay over allegations that they syphoned the money from the unit for their own business.

It is understood the claims were raised at a recent UJ council meeting.

According to the report, Marcus and Van Schoor allegedly abused their executive powers by channelling some of the funds from a solar project into Innovative Investment Corporation (IIC), a Sandton-based company they hold shares in.

According to Who's Who, this company, led by Marcus, focuses on commercialising opportunities in the food, energy and water sectors.

Esterhuizen said, when the claim surfaced, the two opted to step down for a forensic investigation to be carried out.

They would receive their pay and benefits during the probe. He would not confirm what the two were being accused of, or confirm that R25m was involved.

The university's commercialisation unit was set up to provide a third stream of income through the patenting and licensing of inventions.

Universities currently receive funding from the government and from direct payments from students who do not qualify for fee-free education.

The Fees Must Fall movement, in 2015, won to a fee freeze for 2016 and a maximum increase of 8% for 2017, so universities are increasingly searching for other ways to make money to cover rising costs.

The University of Johannesburg becomes the owner of its employees' inventions. Inventors have the right to one-third of the net revenue resulting from the commercialisation of their inventions.

In the meantime, Chamber of Mines president Mike Teke has been appointed the acting chair of the council, and Nolwazi Mamorare will be the acting deputy vice chancellor of finance.

Comments from the two, who stepped down, was not immediately available.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) student command at UJ expressed concern over the allegations.

"The money could have gone to many things to help students," they said. The students said an external investigation by police was also required so that a very strong message against corruption could be delivered.

Read more on:    university of johannesburg  |  johannesburg  |  fraud

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