Eastern Cape municipal clerk jailed for increasing her own salary

Former Ngqushwa municipality clerk Ntombozuko Mgoqi has been thrown into jail for defrauding her employer.

She was also found guilty of theft after she and her co-accused, Nolufefe Mrhwebo, manipulated the municipal system to increase their salaries without authorisation.

Mrhwebo was jailed in 2016 for four years for being complicit in the crime of theft.

Mgoqi was found guilty by the Peddie Regional court on Friday. Provincial head of the Hawks in the Eastern Cape, Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya, lauded the conviction. He praised the investigating and prosecuting team for the securing the conviction.

To spend five years in jail

She is set to spend five years in jail without the option of a fine.

Ngwenya was grateful to the determination by the East London Serious Commercial Crime Investigation of the Hawks. In partnership with the NPA they made sure that Mgoqi, 43, was sentenced.

“During the period between December 2013 and June 2014, Mgoqi unlawfully and intentionally colluded with Mrhwebo to manipulate the municipal system to increase their salaries without the employer’s authorisation.

Municipality lost R200,000 as a result

“Subsequent to that, internal auditing picked up discrepancies in their salaries. The municipality suffered a loss of over R200,000 from the unauthorised salary increase.

“The matter was referred to the Hawks for more investigation,” said provincial Hawks spokesperson, Warrant-Officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana.

Mhlakuvana added that the investigation revealed that Mgoqi had intentionally manipulated the municipal system. This to increase their salaries without  the employer’s authorisation.

“That led to the duo being arrested by the Hawks on 14 September 2015. They appeared before the Peddie magistrate’s court on the same day. Later they were released on R5,000 bail each,” said Mhlakuvana.

Eight years after the sentencing of Mrhwebo, Mgoqi was sentenced. It is now her turn to spend five years in the slammer with no option of a fine.

Municipality fraught with corruption from officials

Ngqushwa municipality is infamous for harbouring corrupt officials. In 2021, three officials were arrested for allegations of fraud and corruption. They are former municipal manager Misiwe Mpahlwa, former director of corporate services Mkhuseli Mxeke and former CFO Tinus Matthysen. The trio was arrested on allegations of fraud and corruption regarding  procurement of goods and services for the Christmas event.

Last year, the Hawks arrested Nomonde Cowa, a former official of the same municipality, for alleged involvement in another fraud and theft case.

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