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Fire officer cites gambling addiction

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REUTERS

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 Cape Town - A chief fire officer stationed in Stellenbosch has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and corruption after defrauding the municipality.

Lizaan Morta, 48, of Mitchells Plain, who worked at the Stellenbosch Municipality, entered into a plea agreement after he stole R14 000 from an order of fire rescue kits.

In the deal, Morta was sentenced to four years, suspended for five. It includes two years’ correctional supervision and house arrest and he has to perform 16 hours’ community service a month for the duration of the sentence, and receive treatment and attend rehabilitation programmes.

Morta, who was previously employed at the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, has been employed at Stellenbosch since 1997.

His fraudulent activities were discovered following a complaint by colleagues and a Hawks investigation.

 Morta placed an order for materials on August 30, including 30 fire kits valued at R83 940, of which Country Building Supplies delivered 20. They split the difference with Morta. CBS paid R14 000 in cash to Morta on September 5.

 Morta said his crime “was directly connected” to a gambling addiction.

natasha.prince@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

FOR THE RECORD - June 20, 2014

In a letter to the Cape Argus, CBS lawyers said CBS had at no time split/shared money with Morta and “vehemently denies this allegation”.

“Our submission is that our client was not involved in the plea bargain or in court on that day,” said the letter.

It is a fact that CBS was the whistle-blower on Morta’s fraudulent actions and that no further investigations had been conducted into CBS regarding the matter.

 


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