Lovedale TVET staff member fired over money scandal

Money scandal rocks TVET college
Money scandal rocks TVET college

Nomphelo Magongoma was fired for channelling thousands of rands into her second bank account after manipulating a public college’s payroll system using the details of a colleague.

The management of Lovedale technical and vocational education training (TVET) college in the Eastern Cape, which has campuses in King William’s Town, Zwelitsha and Alice, fired the state accountant in 2018.

A case of fraud is expected to be opened.

Attempts at getting comment from Magongoma were unsuccessful.

According to a Lovedale College internal report seen by City Press, Magongoma had capitalised on the migration process in 2015 by channelling money to her bank account.

Ishmael Mnisi, spokesperson for the department of higher education, science and technology, said 50 colleges had been migrated from provincial education departments to higher education department out of 70 TVET colleges in the country.

Mnisi said only the Central Johannesburg College had been placed under administration this year.

“This was based on outcomes of a forensic investigation which found that there are some acts of maladministration at the college,” Mnisi said.

College acting principal Juanita Verster confirmed the incident and that Magongoma manipulated the college payroll using the credentials of her colleague.

This was identified in May 2018.

“Magongoma was charged, found guilty and dismissed on October 5 2018. The college is still in the process of finally quantifying the extent of the financial loss, and will immediately thereafter lodge the matter with police for further action,” Verster said.

But when presented with amounts that Magongoma allegedly stole, Verster put the amount to R72 110 saying this was a finding of an internal investigation.

The reason why the college was yet to open a case, Verster said, was because it received advice that it should only be opened if the amount exceeds R100 000 and there was also conclusive proof of the alleged theft.

The R72 110 amount Verster revealed was, according to information seen by City Press, only channelled in 2018.

Other alleged payments, which City Press has seen, were as follows:

*R9 484.50 in 2015;

*R199 507 in 2016; and

*R212 614 in 2017.

Verster said college management was currently in the process of appointing a forensic investigator to assist in quantifying the extent of this fraudulent activity and “will then be in a position to comment on the figures mentioned by City Press for the period 2015 to 2017”.

When the college became aware of the alleged fraud, Verster said it immediately placed Magongoma on suspension, a disciplinary process followed and resulted in her dismissal.

“Since Magongoma was employed at the college for a number of years management was concerned that the extent of the fraud would be substantial. It was and still is the intention of management to appoint a forensic investigator to review payrolls of the prior years to establish whether the fraudulent activity was confined only to [this specific case],” Verster said.

She said delays in appointing the forensic investigator were caused by disruptions of operations due to illegal industrial action, which led to the intimidation of working staff.

“The college was thus not able to continue with the process last year. Settlement on the industrial action was finally reached in March 2019,” she said.

The internal college report seen by City Press indicated that Magongoma paid a salary of another employee, who was on Persal – the government payroll – a separate payroll to that of the college’s payroll, to her second bank account.

She created an impression that her colleague was a contract worker.

Another employee picked this up last year and started enquiring why there was a second salary payment for a colleague who was on Persal.

Investigations confirmed that Magongoma had created a bank account under her name into which her colleague’s salary was deposited.

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