The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has arrested 5 of its employees this morning for their alleged involvement in a R10m scam. This is being touted as a sign that the city is serious about corruption-busting activities.
CoJ released the following statement this morning:
The City of Johannesburg confirms the arrest of five of its employees from the Building Control Department by the Hawks police unit this morning Wednesday 31 October 2012 for their alleged involvement in a R10 million scam to defraud Council funds for the submission of building plans over a 12 month period.
This also follows the recent five year sentencing and conviction of a former Johannesburg Metro Police Department employee in a bribery case.
“These events are paying good dividends to the hard work which our teams have been quietly working on with the authorities in the past few months to rid the city of any activities of alleged fraud, bribery. It also further confirms the City’s determination to take a firm stand against our employees who participate in activities which compromise service delivery, as announced at the our recent launch of anti-corruption initiatives across all departments and municipal entities, says Mr Trevor Fowler, City Manager of Johannesburg.
The anti-corruption campaign was announced to the media by the City and supported by Corruption Watch and other community stakeholders a week ago.
“Seven officials were suspended immediately after the scam was discovered in May. We then proceeded with internal disciplinary action. Of the seven officials, one subsequently resigned while another took early retirement. All those involved are still liable to repay all monies gained as a result of their activities and also face possible imprisonment if found guilty in a court of law,” adds Mr Fowler.
Police warrants of arrest were issued on Monday and the accused were later arrested and are due to appear in the Commercial Crimes Court today 31st October 2012.
The scam involved money switching hands when building plans are handed in to officials with the guarantee that the plans will be approved. Fraudulent receipts were then generated and reflected on City records as valid on the basis of proof of payment.
These arrests are a clear demonstration that the City of Johannesburg is committed to make every effort to take harsh action against those reported for fraud or corruption. Members of the public are also urged to report allegations of bribery & corruption through an independent corruption hotline 0800 00 25 87 or send Sms: 32840 (sms cost R1.50) or email on Anticorruption@tip-offs.com. It is important for complainants to provide as much information as possible to assist this process which will lead to stopping wrongdoing. Confidentiality of those who provide information is guaranteed.
Whistle blowers and members of the public will be able to submit evidence of corruption or describe the alleged incident of corruption in their own language.