Housing official faces jail time for fraud

CORRUPTION WATCH: Mayor Herman Mashaba at an induction ceremony for JMPD recruits in October.

A CITY of Johannesburg employee is facing jail time after she was suspended for fraudulently manipulating quotations from service providers.

The employee was identified to be a bookkeeper within the Department of Housing.

City’s number one Herman Mashaba said the official inflated quotations submitted by service providers to the department so that their proposals would not be considered. According to the mayor, the official would then award work to those service providers with links to her – and shared the spoils.

Mashaba said he encouraged service providers to submit their quotations in secure PDF formats.

“This will make it difficult for unscrupulous officials to manipulate them. Most service providers currently submit their quotations in formats which can be easily manipulated.”

It was Merchant Payment who suspected that there was something wrong with the quotations submitted to the Department of Housing in June 2017. The service providers were then contacted to verify the authenticity of the quotations submitted; they denied any knowledge of the prices mentioned in the quotations.

The matter was referred to the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) for further investigation.

GFIS found that in a call for the provision of catering services, requested by the city, two service providers submitted quotes of R5 550 and R19 000, respectively. It is alleged that the official inflated the cheapest quote to R21 945. This resulted in the R19 000 quotation being the cheapest one received. The same quote was inclusive of VAT, which the company was not registered for.

The official contravened the supply chain management policy and committed a criminal office which resulted in a docket opened at the Hillbrow Police Station.

“I am disappointed to learn that there are still officials who are still involved or engaging in corrupt activities. This is despite the fact that we continually educate employees about fraud and corruption.”

He urged everyone to report fraud or corruption through their 24-hour tip-off hotline 0800 002 587 or visit the GFIS offices situated at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein.

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Gopolang Chawane

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