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Johannesburg - A senior Department of Justice official arrested last week for fraud by the Hawks has been dismissed, the department confirmed on Tuesday. 

Forty-four-year-old Bina Masuku, who worked at the Mpumalanga Master of the High Court, was arrested last week along with her boyfriend Elvis Kgosiemang, 35, for allegedly defrauding claimants out of more than R1.7 million. 

Masuku allegedly referred claimants to Kgosiemang, a bogus lawyer, to have their claims processed but instead some never received their claims. Thus far, eight families have been defrauded of millions by the couple. 

The duo were nabbed by the Hawks' Serious Commercial Crimes Investigation Unit and appeared in court on Monday facing charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the immigration act. 

The Department of Justice in a statement confirmed Masuku had been fired with effect from November 8.

"This follows a disciplinary process where she faced misconduct charges," spokesperson Chrispin Phiri told IOL. 

Questioned on the issue around Masuku's nationality, Phiri said there was never any suspicion that she misrepresented her nationality as she presented a South African identity number upon being hired. 

It was only during the Hawks' probe that an investigation into her background was conducted by authorities. 

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola said he was disturbed to learn of the arrest of an official "entrusted with responsibilities of office of the Master of the High Court". 

“We expect officials to act with due diligence and impartiality when they work with estates of deceased persons as beneficiaries look up to the Masters of the High Court to assist them access due benefits. When our officials choose to engage in acts of corruption when 
executing their mandate, we will not hesitate to punish them for such conduct."

Masuku and Kgosiemang were remanded in custody until their next appearance in the Nelspruit Magistrates' Court on Wednesday. 

IOL