KwaZulu-Natal municipal official suspended over missing R1.7m

A senior employee of KwaZulu-Natal’s IFP-led Jozini municipality has been suspended for allegedly embezzling R1.7-million from the municipality’s funds.

Sunday World understands through internal sources that the official, assigned to the information and technology department, swindled the funds by creating a fictitious bank account and breaching financial protocols.

The dubious payment was revealed when it was discovered that a duplicate payment of R1.7-million had been paid to one service provider using two different bank accounts.

Political directive?

“We believe that there are more people involved in this. It could have been a political directive because they tried to hide it from the public.

“The intention was to loot the money,” said an insider who did not want to be identified because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

Municipal manager Jaconia Mngomezulu says Jozini municipality will conduct its own investigation

The municipality was investigating a case of fraud and corruption, according to municipal manager Jaconia Mngomezulu, who spoke with Sunday World this week.

“There’s an allegation of fraud and corruption that involves the usage of fictitious bank accounts, which needs to be investigated,” said Mngomezulu.

“The investigation will determine what happened, as the matter has also been referred to the SA Police Service for investigation. The municipality will conduct its own investigation as well.”

He stated that the suspension was to allow the investigation process to run without the presence of the official. “The suspension does not mean that the municipal official is a suspect or implicated.”

Political parties suspect foul play

Jozini is under the IFP-led council in Zululand district municipality, which itself has also come under fire over missing millions of rands.

The district rejected the allegations about R33-million vanishing from the municipal coffers.

The municipality said the accusation came from rogue elements who had tried to hack its bank account.

The district municipality said the bank detected the attempted theft and moved swiftly to prevent the alleged fraud.

The EFF and the National Freedom Party in the council are strongly pushing for a forensic investigation to be instituted.

The parties believe there is organised fraud and that money is being used for political campaigns in advance of this year’s general elections.

The municipality has denied the allegations.

In the aftermath of the saga, the parties have also called for the resignation of Zululand mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi, the municipal manager, and the chief financial officer.

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