Johannesburg - The University of Johannesburg (UJ) will recover more than R14 million from two former executives, who siphoned the money from the institution through several well-calculated acts of fraud.
Professor Roy Marcus, former chairperson of the university’s council and Jaco van Schoor, the sacked deputy vice-chancellor of finance, did not oppose the application for damages UJ brought against them in the South Gauteng High Court.
Judge Philip Coppin granted an order against the pair last week and the companies through which they stole the millions of rand belonging to the university.
The order was drafted by lawyers out of court. The order said Marcus and Van Schoor should jointly pay back the money to UJ. This, however, will not exempt the pair from facing further criminal charges, which the EFF student command is demanding.
On Tuesday, former EFF student command chairperson and activist Zwelakhe Mahlamvu said that they welcomed the order.
“That is exactly what we have been calling for. Now that the money will be recovered, we want them to face criminal charges. “The money could have been used to do many things at the institution. We are now waiting for the police to arrest them. They have to be prosecuted,” Mahlamvu said.
UJ has laid criminal charges against Marcus and Van Schoor. The case was opened at the Brixton police station in December. And the case was taken over by the Hawks earlier this year.
Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu, spokesperson for the Hawks in Gauteng, confirmed to The Star that the elite crime-fighting unit was investigating the matter.
Their pictures have also been circulated on social media over the past few months, with users calling for their arrest.
@NgwanaSkolo urged UJ to take the matter seriously. “UJ being a reputable institution cannot sit back” he wrote on Twitter.
The multimillion-rand fraud was exposed last year when it surfaced that Marcus and Van Schoor were abusing their executive positions at UJ to channel money for the institution’s projects to companies linked to them with fraudulent invoices.
Marcus resigned in September. At the time, UJ announced that this was “in the interests of the university and without admitting to any wrongdoing”.
Van Schoor was fired after being found guilty in disciplinary proceedings.
In a founding affidavit submitted to Judge Coppin, UJ revealed how Marcus and Van Schoor stole money set aside for the installation of solar geysers at the university’s premises and residences.
They facilitated payments to companies linked to them under false pretences that the companies had done some work or supplied goods for the project.
This constituted “fraudulent misrepresentations”, UJ said in its court papers.
Clarify Investment was paid more than R10m, while Triad Capital got paid R2.2m and Mainstream Aquaculture received R1.2m.
“No services of any value to UJ had been rendered to UJ and therefore no value had been received by (the university), in return for the amounts paid,” said the institution’s affidavit.
“UJ was impoverished as a result of making the payments, in that it received no services of value to it in return for such payments.
“By his conduct, Van Schoor acted contrary to the interests of UJ and caused (the university) to suffer financial loss, because it did not receive any goods or services of value to it.”
UJ expressed shock in its papers that Clarify Investment, Triad Capital and Mainstream Aquaculture were paid, despite not having any contracts with the university.
“No procurement process was followed, which was in contravention of the procurement policy.”
The money paid to the companies was channelled to Innovative Investment Corporation (IIC). UJ discovered that Marcus and Van Schoor were directors in IIC.
UJ said the two “facilitated” the payments to a company they owned. They were directors along with two other individuals, who were not linked to UJ.
“Marcus and Van Schoor failed to declare these directorships to UJ, as they were obliged to do.”
The university said the companies had acted fraudulently by submitting invoices for work they had not done. Payments were made to them on the “basis of fraudulent misrepresentations”, UJ stated.