The City of Cape Town has established a forensic department to tackle fraud and corruption, mayor Patricia de Lille said on Wednesday.
“We find that a small minority of people with criminal intent have attempted to defraud the city and its ratepayers,” she said in a statement.
“The mandate of this department is to investigate allegations of corporate crime... it has been established and operationally placed in the office of the city manager.”
The most common crimes were by prospective service providers misrepresenting their Human Development Index to secure a contract or tender.
The city had also discovered a crime syndicate which defrauded it by submitting false claims and bank account numbers for service refunds.
“This investigation is ongoing. However, by acting swiftly we have prevented losses in the amount of approximately R800 000,” De Lille said.
The forensic department was working closely with the Special Commercial Crimes Unit and the Hawks, meeting monthly to discuss cases reported for criminal investigation.
On Wednesday, service provider Nigel du Plooy was fined R30 000 (or 12 months' in jail) for defrauding the city, and a year imprisonment suspended for five years.
Du Plooy, who owned four close corporations (CCs), issued three different quotations to install fibre cabling at municipal premises in the Cape Town suburb of Kuils River.
The quotations were in his CCs' names, which ensured that he was awarded the tender no matter which of the three quotations was accepted – a practice known as “cover-quoting”.
He was found guilty on 27 counts of fraud by the Belville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, but was acquitted on corruption charges.
City employee Nomkitha Matinisi was recently found guilty of eight counts of corruption after demanding money from community members to illegally allocate housing not due to them.
She was jailed for five years, two of which were suspended on condition she was not convicted of a similar offence. – Sapa