Schools of scan­dal as money van­ishes

Sunday Times - - News Society - By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

● A book-keeper charged with em­bez­zling more than R1m from two top Western Cape schools has asked the state for a dis­counted sen­tence.

Jacque­line Struwig is fac­ing fraud charges along­side her hus­band, An­dre, and daugh­ter, Ni­cole, in the Bel­lville spe­cialised com­mer­cial crimes court.

Struwig, who worked at Rhen­ish Girls High School in Stel­len­bosch be­tween 2007 and 2014, al­legedly trans­ferred money into her hus­band and daugh­ter’s bank ac­counts, dis­guis­ing the trans­ac­tions as pay­ments for “cater­ing”, “prize-giv­ing eats” and “in­ter­house”, among myr­iad other ref­er­ences.

She re­signed from Rhen­ish in 2014 and got an­other job at nearby Stel­len­bosch High, where she al­legedly con­tin­ued with her fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties. Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, Struwig stole the money in more than 100 unau­tho­rised trans­ac­tions over nine years. Eric Ntabazalila, a spokesper­son for the di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions in the Western Cape, said the plea and sen­tenc­ing agree­ment by Struwig, her hus­band and their daugh­ter had yet to be fi­nalised.

“Her at­tor­ney and coun­sel in­di­cated that she is pre­pared to ac­cept a 10-year sen­tence,” said Ntabazalila. The agree­ment will be fi­nalised at the fam­ily’s next court ap­pear­ance in Novem­ber.

The fam­ily’s lawyer, Calie Smit, said: “We are busy with cer­tain ne­go­ti­a­tions with the state.”

In an­other mat­ter, Wester­ford High School in Cape Town fired its bur­sar last month for al­legedly steal­ing about R2.4m since 2012. In a let­ter to par­ents, the gov­ern­ing body said the bur­sar trans­ferred the money into her per­sonal ac­count and was re­ported to the po­lice.

This week, head­mas­ter Rob le Roux said the bur­sar would be ar­rested.

“The case is pend­ing. It is with the po­lice at the mo­ment,” he said.

“The gist of it is that this hap­pened and the board let the par­ents know what mea­sures were put in place. One was lay­ing a charge with the po­lice, the sec­ond one was get­ting an in­de­pen­dent firm of au­di­tors to do a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion on all our sys­tems to see why it hap­pened, and the third one was re­port­ing it to the depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion.”

From left, An­dre, Jacque­line and Ni­cole Struwig

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.