Lit­er­acy project fraud


THE Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment is trying to re­cover more than R1.5 mil­lion from vol­un­teers who fraud­u­lently claimed payments of stipends in one of its pro­grammes aimed at re­duc­ing adult il­lit­er­acy lev­els.

The de­part­ment is con­sid­er­ing us­ing the As­set and For­fei­ture Unit to re­coup the money vol­un­teers ob­tained from the Kha Ri Gude mass lit­er­acy pro­gramme by reg­is­ter­ing “dead” pupils to re­ceive ex­tra payments.

In re­ply to questions asked by the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans of the of­fi­cial opposition, Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga said R474 737 had been re­cov­ered by the end of last month.

“The bal­ance will, where pos­si­ble, be de­ducted from the af­fected vol­un­teers when re­main­ing payments are pro­cessed.

“The de­part­ment en­gaged the Hawks re­gard­ing the mat­ter, who ad­vised that the rel­e­vant body that needs to deal with the mat­ter is the As­set and For­fei­ture Unit,” Mot­shekga said.

The fraud was un­cov­ered af­ter a query by Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu who found the de­part­ment had fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture of R44m in the 2015-16 year.

The amount was re­vised to R1 549 899 af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mot­shekga said au­di­tors had raised red flags af­ter stum­bling on fic­ti­tious payments made to vol­un­teers in the Kha Ri Gude pro­gramme.

“The au­di­tors found that there was reg­is­tra­tion of de­ceased learn­ers be­fore the start of the cam­paign re­sult­ing in the over-payments of stipends to ed­u­ca­tors, su­per­vi­sors, co-or­di­na­tors and the project man­age­ment com­pany on ac­count of fraud­u­lent claims.”

Mot­shekga also said the al­leged fraud­u­lent cases were in­ves­ti­gated and it was found that 90 vol­un­teers were in­volved in the scam.

“Ninety vol­un­teers were found guilty and paid R282 297. The vol­un­teers were re­moved and the monies de­ducted… The de­part­ment de­ducted the funds owed from the stipend payments due to the vol­un­teers,” she said.

Mot­shekga said her de­part­ment was im­prov­ing its in­ter­nal con­trol in or­der to strengthen fi­nan­cial man­age­ment in the Kha Ri Gude pro­gramme.

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