Durban - The provincial government will soon be re-imbursed most of the half-a-million rand allegedly stolen from its coffers by an employee.
This follows the granting on Wednesday of a forfeiture order by Durban High Judge Jacqui Henriques.
It is alleged that a Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development employee had used government order forms and forged signatures to have nearly R500 000 paid into a bank account.
The account was in the name of Khabomvomvo Investment, but apparently had Emmanuel Mkhize, a government employee in the supply chain management division, listed as the sole signatory.
In papers before the court, Detective Warrant Officer Bradley Swift, of the Commercial Crime Unit in Pietermaritzburg, said he received a complaint in August last year from the department about the submission of alleged false documents for payment to three companies registered as suppliers on the department’s database.
He interviewed various department employees and learnt that from July last year, a supervising manager received a report about certain irregularities that appeared on their purchase orders.
The manager, he said, had received a call from a First National Bank branch in Pietermaritzburg about a payment by the department of R499 999 to Khabomvomvo’s bank account.
As at August 2014, the credit balance was close to R466 000.
Swift found these payments were from irregular orders he was investigating, and the bank agreed to put a hold on the payment.
The investigator established the identity number of the sole signatory and traced it through the government department’s payroll system and discovered that it belonged to Mkhize.
The manager had told Swift the order documents did not have their division’s special stamp or number, neither was there a record for the request for goods or services found in their register.
There was no record of these documents handed over to the acquisition/ quotation section and the invitation for quotes regarding this order was also not sent from their usual fax machine.
Swift also said the manager denied signing the orders and said the signature that appeared on these forms was not hers. His investigations also revealed there was no record that the goods, day-old chicks and veggie packs, were delivered.
He said he had also interviewed an administrative clerk who shared an office with Mkhize. One of the clerk’s duties, he said, was to capture the supporting documents for payment into their system. The clerk denied capturing these documents and found some of the requests for payment were for travel accommodation.
The clerk also said Mkhize used to authorise the information he captured into the system, and he had noticed the handwriting on these supporting documents for payment was similar to that of Mkhize.
Swift said the fax number that appeared on the request for payment form was linked to the e-mail address “[email protected]” and found that Mkhize was the e-mail user.
From this investigation, Kenneth Samuel, deputy director of the National Prosecuting Authority and assigned to the Asset Forfeiture Unit in KwaZulu-Natal, said in his affidavit that this credit balance of nearly R466 000 in Khabom-vomvo’s bank account was derived from fraud and proceeds of unlawful activity.
“To date, no one has come forward to request the release of the hold placed on the bank account. I submit that if the money was derived from a lawful source, the owner thereof would reasonably be expected to come forward to lay claim to it,” read Samuel’s affidavit.