Beach boss fraud finding
Internal metro probe finds Cain was giving business to his family
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.