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Gauteng transport officials face suspension over R6.2 Million Scam

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Pretoria – A total of 19 officials working at the Gauteng Motor Vehicle Registering Authorities (MVRA) will be suspended and face prosecution for financial irregularities.

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi said the department will be suspending and prosecuting officials working at provincially-controlled MVRAs, namely, Kliptown which has four officials, Mabopane with 10 officials and Temba with five officials, for the loss of R6.2 million involving 304 transactions.

An additional employee implicated in the scam is deceased.

On Thursday, MEC Vadi briefed the media in Johannesburg on a wide-ranging and extensive departmental investigation relating to financial irregularities at both municipal and provincial MVRAs.

According to MEC Vadi, the department’s investigations commenced in 2013, when it was discovered that “ghost users” were created on the eNatis system by two departmental employees for the purpose of defrauding the license fees fund.

Both officials were charged and are no longer in the employ of the department.

“Subsequently, the departmental investigation was broadened to include all MVRAs as it became apparent that more officials across the system were possibly involved in the scam.

“Essentially, the eNatis system prevents the renewal of a motor vehicle licence if there are any outstanding licence fees or fines captured against the applicant’s identity number. The system will only perform the renewal transaction once the outstanding amount is paid,” the department said.

MEC Vadi indicated that the officials involved have allegedly removed the outstanding fees and ‘dumped’ the fees onto another vehicle owner’s name, who in most instances is a deceased person, or onto inactive vehicle records.

He said in addition to the disciplinary and criminal proceedings lodged against officials concerned, the department will be reinstating the “dumped amounts” onto the accounts of identified vehicle owners.

Criminal charges could possibly be instituted against the private individuals and businesses involved in the scam.

“This is a large-scale investigation involving almost all the motor vehicle registering authorities in the province.

“The suspension of and the disciplinary proceedings being instituted against so many employees over time will have a disruptive effect on the level of services to communities. I wish to assure the public that we will work closely with municipal authorities to ensure continuity of services,” MEC Vadi said.

The MEC’s announcement comes after disciplinary action taken by the City of Johannesburg in which 71 employees were suspended and some arrested by the Hawks.

“The investigation shows a clear trend of syndicated crime that probably involves a further 394 officials from MVRAs in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and West Rand, who could possibly be charged for 2791 fraudulent transactions. The total financial loss to government is estimated to be R42 million,” MEC Vadi said.

He said the actual number of employees allegedly involved in the scam is still to be verified with the municipalities concerned as ‘ghost workers’ could have been created on the technology platform to perpetrate fraudulent transactions. –