The Al-Noor Orphanage in Woodstock. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Department of Social Development has distanced itself from the controversial Al-Noor Orphanage Centre after evidence of a fraudulent letter came to the fore. 

In a statement the department said, "We would like to warn the public about fake letters of endorsement being distributed by the Al-Noor Orphanage in Cape Town. It has recently been brought to the attention of the department that an endorsement letter for holiday programmes at Al-Noor, purporting to be by direction of former Social Development MEC Albert Fritz, has been sent to several organisations."

“I condemn the misuse of my name in this document. Direction was not given from my office, as stated in the document, to support a holiday programme facilitated by Al-Noor Orphanage.” said Fritz.

The department has referred the matter to Western Cape Forensics Services, who will lodge a case of fraud with the police.  

Upon reviewing the document, the DSD said it found that it had no employee by that name on the document. 

The letterhead specifies a unit/directorate that does not exist in the DSD. There are no office managers in the office of the MEC – the only office manager positions in the department would be in the office of chief directors. 

The letter is not dated and there are no landline contact numbers on the letter – a requirement on letterheads.

Last month the City of Cape Town gave the disgraced orphanage an eviction order after the centre was shut down by the DSD after sexual allegations.

Al-Noor has been in the spotlight following allegations of fraud and corruption by their manager Amina Okpara. She was arrested on June 14 for fraud and corruption by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, or Hawks.

It is alleged that Okpara redirected donor funds meant for daily operations of the centre into her personal bank account and used it for personal gain.

* More on the story in Saturday's paper.