JCPS cluster names and shames on corrupt officials
Government has adopted a zero tolerance approach in the fight against fraud and corruption in both the public and private sector. This has remained one of the major priorities of government as in both sectors, corruption has detrimental effects on government’s effort to deliver effective services to the people.
In a recent media briefing, the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster announced 42 individuals who have been convicted of fraud and corruption.
Addressing the media at the new Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) premises in Hatfield, Pretoria on Sunday, 09 June 2013, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe, who also chairs the cluster said the tough stance adopted by government is to ensure that fraud and corruption doesn’t have a place in society.
“This aggressive stance has been initiated to ensure that, for the first time in the history of our democracy, criminals in our society will be made known and publicly held accountable for their actions,” explained the minister, adding that the aim is to send a strong message to criminals that their actions will not go without scrutiny, and to deter others from engaging in corrupt and criminal activities.
Accompanied by the State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Justice Deputy Minister Andries Nel and other officials in the JCPS Cluster, Minister Radebe said the framework for the fight against corruption in the country is in line with international practices such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol Against Corruption.
The fight against corruption is a concerted effort which comprises of various institutions including the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), South African Revenue Services (SARS), HAWKS and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).
Giving a detailed report during the media briefing, Minister Radebe said for the 2012/13 financial year, criminal investigations were recorded against 242 accused persons in 89 priority cases involving serious corrupt incidents of R5 million or more per incident.
According to Minister Radebe, the 42 names released are mainly cases which were prioritised because of the huge amounts of money involved. He indicated that other names from a long list of over 3000 convicted individuals will be released at a later stage.
Among those who were publicly proclaimed were, Boy Meshack Thekiso, David Mtsoane and Teboho Masoleng who were part of a syndicate that defrauded the Post Bank of R42, 782 500 by obtaining access to the bank’s computer system. Thekiso was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while Mtsoane and Masoleng received an effective 15 years jail term respectively. The case against Kabelo Kekana, who is also implicated in this case, is still on-going and was postponed to 22 July for further investigations.
In another incident, a syndicate gained access to the South African Revenue Services’ (SARS) systems in Midrand, Gauteng, with the corrupt assistance of a SARS employee and a consultant contracted by the organisation. Minister Radebe said the syndicate fraudulently changed banking details on the system to divert and effect fraudulent refunds to the value of R77 million into the syndicate’s bank accounts.
Six (6) individuals, AliRaza Naqvi; Mazhar Raza Syed; Zaheer Seedat; Samuel Thabo Gouwe; Audella Makhubu and Fiza Naqvi involved in this case were arrested and convicted. Three (3) accused persons were sentenced to 24 years imprisonment while the other three (3) were given 10 years suspended for five (5) years.
Most of the serious corruption-related cases are dealt with in the Regional Court Specialised Commercial Crimes Courts. For the period 2012/13, the minister explained, these courts received 10 941 cases. The courts obtained convictions against 3 968 persons (813 being foreign nationals) in 3 763 cases with 35 833 counts. “There were also 152 JCPS Cluster employees who have been successfully convicted for corruption” Minister Radebe said.
The ministers made an undertaking that the cluster will leave no stone unturned to ensure that no one enjoys ill-gotten gains and wealth accumulated from unlawful activities. “Government has also strengthened the anti-corruption measures through the National Anti-Corruption hotline which is monitored monthly,” he said, adding that this is a clear indication that government is resolute in dealing with corruption as a priority area.
In conclusion, Minister Radebe indicated that a list of convicted individuals convicted of corruption will be published in all JCPS Cluster departments as well as GCIS. “This will ensure that these convicted individuals do not move from one government department to another. Through National Treasury, companies found to be guilty of any form of corruption will also be blacklisted”.
By Benson Ntlatleng
12 June 2013