Cape Town - The South African Post Office (SAPO) has dismissed an employee who was arrested this week for the alleged theft of unclaimed South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) funds, fraud, perjury and forgery.
Cole Lee Fortuin, 36, worked at the Lavis Town post office in Bishop Lavis where he allegedly forged false entries into his work registers alluding that uncollected Sassa funds had been collected by a security company and deposited into the Post Office bank account.
Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said an initial investigation into the case indicated that the suspect was employed to manage the day-to-day administrative duties.
“The suspect is alleged to have taken R200 000 Sassa funds which, had not been collected in May 2022. The funds were to be returned to the Post Office bank account and to be collected by the relevant private security company.
“During the normal course of business, the suspect would be required to complete the relevant deposit slip, a collection slip by the private security company and endorse this in the relevant register of the Post Office to indicate the banking of the uncollected funds.”
Van Wyk said police believe Fortuin, then made forged entries into these registers, indicating that the funds were collected by the security company and deposited into the Post Office bank account but it was not done.
Van Wyk said on further investigation the Provincial Commercial Crime Investigation also identified another case involving about R500000, using the same modus operandi.
After his arrest, Fortuin appeared in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of theft and fraud, where he pleaded guilty.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said his case was postponed to September 29 for further investigation.
The Post office Sapo said it has dismissed Fortuin on charges of fraud and theft after an internal investigation.
Spokesperson Johan Kruger said: “He was dismissed in line with the SA Post Office policy. The Post Office is co-operating with the SAPS in the investigation. It is policy to lay charges against any person in the organisation found to have broken the law.”