Beach boss fraud find­ing

In­ter­nal metro probe finds Cain was giv­ing busi­ness to his fam­ily

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE - Gareth Wil­son wilsong@times­me­dia.co.za

SUS­PENDED Nel­son Man­dela Bay mu­nic­i­pal beach man­ager Fer­nando Cain has been found guilty in an in­ter­nal process of fraud and fail­ing to de­clare that his fam­ily mem­bers own a com­pany he was giv­ing busi­ness to.

Cain, who was sus­pended in late De­cem­ber last year, was found guilty on Thurs­day fol­low­ing the in­ter­nal hear­ing which started last month.

As a re­sult of the ev­i­dence pre­sented at the hear­ing, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity con­firmed yes­ter­day that the po­lice had also been in­formed and a crim­i­nal case sub­se­quently opened.

This comes af­ter an in­ter­nal probe by the metro’s safety and security spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit was launched in De­cem­ber fol­low­ing an au­dit that un­cov­ered dis­crep­an­cies in the beach of­fice.

The probe was trig­gered af­ter sev­eral near drown­ings across the Bay dur­ing the De­cem­ber 2015 hol­i­days.

Cain is em­ployed as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor in the mu­nic­i­pal de­part­ment of sport, recre­ation, arts and cul­ture direc­torate.

Af­ter the probe was launched, in­voices for du­ties ren­dered by mu­nic­i­pal life­savers were found, lead­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tors to Cain.

Ac­cord­ing to mu­nic­i­pal doc­u­ments, in­voices to­talling al­most R200 000 linked to con­tracts awarded to con­trac­tors, along with quo­ta­tions, were found on Cain’s com­puter.

The doc­u­ments claim let­ter­heads of var­i­ous com­pa­nies were found on his com­puter in Word and Ex­cel for­mat – al­low­ing him to al­ter the doc­u­ments.

“The em­ployee [Cain] is sub­mit­ting quo­ta­tions and in­voices cre­ated by him from his com­puter and sub­mit­ting them to the NMBM, for the pur­pose of gen­er­at­ing pay­ments for the com­pa­nies in ques­tion,” the doc­u­ments state.

The doc­u­ments go on to say that Cain failed to de­clare busi­ness in­ter­ests in a com­pany, Mattcole CC.

Mattcole is listed on the mu­nic­i­pal data­base as a sup­plier. “The busi­ness he al­legedly failed to de­clare is Mattcole CC owned by his son and daugh­ter-in-law, which has busi­ness in­ter­ests in em­ployee’s [Cain’s] em­ployer [NMBM].”

A com­pa­nies and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty com­mis­sion search showed that the listed di­rec­tors of Mattcole are Ni­cole and Matthew Cain.

The hear­ing’s find­ings, how­ever, state that not only was Cain guilty of breach of in­ter­nal pol­icy, but also of white-col­lar crime.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, doc­u­ments also sur­faced of NMMU’s north cam­pus re­quest­ing life­savers through Cain dur­ing an event, which Cain pro­vided but for which Mattcole in­voiced the univer­sity.

“In such cases Mattcole CC was used to pro­vide such ser­vices,” the doc­u­ment states.

The hand­ing out of pam­phlets in­volv­ing the Soul Good Events com­pany also emerged dur­ing the probe. The doc­u­ments state the pam­phlets were in aid of the wa­ter safety com­mu­nity out­reach pro­gramme and that Cain told his life­savers to dis­trib­ute them and scratch out the name of his rel­a­tive, As­ton Cain.

At the time As­ton was a project man­ager for Soul Good Events and also per­form­ing li­ai­son for the Ho­bie Beach Life­sav­ing Club.

The doc­u­ments state Cain ar­gued that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had been aware of his ties to Mattcole CC since 2014, but failed to dis­ci­pline him.

The pa­pers go on to state Cain claimed he had com­puter is­sues and could not ac­cess the dec­la­ra­tion of in­ter­ests form.

The in­ter­nal hear­ing was post­poned un­til next week for both the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Cain to pro­vide mit­i­gat­ing and ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances be­fore sanc­tion is handed down.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, the In­de­pen­dent Mu­nic­i­pal and Al­lied Trade Union rep­re­sented Cain, while mu­nic­i­pal coastal en­vi­ron­ment man­ager God­frey Mur­rel acted for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Cain de­clined to com­ment on the hear­ing yes­ter­day, say­ing it was still un­der way.

City man­ager Jo­hann Met­tler said the dis­ci­plinary process had not yet been fi­nalised and “no in­for­ma­tion can be pro­vided ex­cept that al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct against him were re­ceived and in­ves­ti­gated”.

How­ever, Met­tler con­firmed that a crim­i­nal case on the mat­ter had been opened with the po­lice.

FER­NANDO CAIN

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