Three suspects between the ages of 34 and 54 were arrested in Bloemfontein and Bethlehem on Thursday, 16 March 2023 by the Free State Hawks’ Serious Corruption investigation team.
Their arrest stems from an incident which took place between January 2020 and December 2021, where a ghost employee was working at the municipality as a contract worker receiving a monthly salary of R12 000.
During the internal audit process undertaken by the municipality, the suspect was called in to sign attendance registers for the duration of his employment within the municipality.
It is alleged that the former Director of Local Economic Development (LED) who was the supervisor of the ghost employee at the time allegedly instructed his subordinate to create an attendance register for the ghost employee as if he was at all times reporting on duty.
It is further alleged that the Director of Corporate Services who was an acting Municipal Manager at that time, was present when her colleague, LED Director instructed his subordinate to create attendance register.
She also signed the contract of the ghost employee. As a result of this fraudulent activities, the municipality was prejudiced and suffered a total loss of more than R290 000.
The matter was then reported to the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team based in Bethlehem for further investigation, which culminated to the arrest of the suspects.
They are expected to appear before the Bethlehem Magistrates’ Court on 17 March 2023 where they will be facing charges of fraud, theft and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 121 of 1998 (POCA).