Durban - Msunduzi Municipality city manager Lulamile Mapholoba has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of a former electricity department foreman for 24 counts of fraud related to overtime abuse.
The municipality said in a statement that Preetham Sukrajh had been charged for fraud amounting to over R74 000.
According to a court document, the matter was concluded on February 22, 2023.
Sukrajh was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he was not convicted of fraud or theft during the suspension period.
The court ordered that he pay the amount of R74 397.92 in monthly instalments of R2 500 until the full amount was paid. Payment is effective from February 28.
Municipal spokesperson Ntobeko Mkhize said the case stemmed from investigations by the Internal Audit Unit that started in the 2014/15 financial year in which three foremen, including Sukrajh, were investigated for overtime abuse in the electricity department.
Mkhize said another foreman, Reeaz Paruk, was convicted and sentenced on 105 counts of fraud involving actual losses of R385 102.94 to the municipality and potential prejudice of R22 440.96, which was stopped by the Internal Audit Unit.
She said Paruk entered into a plea agreement with the State in terms of Section 105A of Act 51 of 1977.
“The accused agreed to cede the sum of R385 102.94 from his pension to the Msunduzi Municipality,” said Mkhize.
Mkhize said Wiseman Mthembu, also a foreman, was convicted and sentenced after pleading guilty to 22 counts of overtime fraud.
She said Mthembu was fined R30 000 and the court ordered that R151 068.13 be deducted from his pension and be paid over to municipality.
“We hope that these sentences will deter other municipal employees from committing fraud, corruption, theft, etc in that it shows that the results of forensic investigations can now go to the courts for people to account for their evil deeds,” she said.