Witness tells of inflated invoices
Durban - The businessman accused of defrauding the KZN Education Department of R200 million allegedly made his staff fabricate and inflate invoices.
This was according to a special investigator in the case involving Jabulani Mabaso, who was testifying before the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday.
Alan Nixon, an investigator with the now disbanded Scorpions at the time of the probe into Mabaso and his company, Indiza Infrastructure Solutions, said the unit had received a tip-off from an informer of a multimillion rand fraud.
He then interviewed a former employee of Mabaso’s, Jillian Broughton, who will also be called as a State witness.
Broughton told Nixon she had resigned from Indiza shortly after being made to “create” invoices in the name of African Spirit Trading and Palm Stationers, which were submitted to the education department.
The invoices indicated a misrepresentation of amounts owing for services rendered.
Mabaso, the former managing director of Indiza, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of fraud, seven of forgery and seven of uttering.
An amended indictment was served on Mabaso on Monday after the State withdrew charges against former education department chief financial officer, Pam Zulu.
The charges against Mabaso relate to a tender awarded to Indiza by the KZN Department of Education for the supply of stationery to schools in 2005.
Indiza would act as an agent for the department, procuring stationery from suppliers and facilitating its supply and distribution to schools in the province. Indiza is currently being liquidated.
According to the indictment, after Indiza was awarded the tender, an appeal was lodged by unsuccessful bidders.
The department then entered into a service level agreement with Indiza for three months between June and September 2005 to continue the procurement and distribution of stationery pending the finalisation of the appeal.
In November 2005, a second service agreement was entered into between Indiza and the department for a period of two years. This agreement was only signed by Mabaso, but never signed by the department.
Mabaso continued supplying stationery to the department and invoices were issued.
The State alleges that African Spirit Trading was a company, created by Mabaso, which served as a supplier of stationery to Indiza at inflated prices, which in turn supplied the department.
From July 2005 to January 2007, Indiza invoiced the department R479 290 587 for services.
Mabaso is alleged to have defrauded the department of R197 466 837 by fabricating and inflating invoices.
In his plea, Mabaso said his understanding of the scope, meaning and purport of the service level agreement between him and the department was that Indiza was entitled to profit for providing the stationery to schools.
The department did not require Indiza to disclose the prices at which it purchased the stationery from suppliers when Indiza submitted its own invoices for payment.
Mabaso said he bore no knowledge of incorrect invoices being submitted. As far as he was concerned, all invoices were correct and calculated in accordance with his understanding of the service level agreement.
During the period covered in the indictment, Indiza submitted 32 invoices to the department. Only three of these are at issue.
Mabaso said he did not consent to or authorise the submission of these invoices to the department.
Mabaso is out on bail of R500 000.
The trial continues.