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Health Department official appears in court for fraud

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The suspect allegedly approved extra payments for bursaries to be pain in certain student's accounts and thereafter contacted the institutions to inform them the department had over payed them in error

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AN OFFICIAL from the provincial Department of Health, Lindiwe Cynthia Nqumashe, was arrested and appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Friday for allegedly committing fraud to the value of more than R80 000.

Hawks spokesperson, Captain Philani Nkwalase, said that Nqumashe, 44, was employed at the student’s bursary fund office, dealing with the allocation of funds to successful bursary applicants.

“She allegedly approved extra payments for bursaries to be paid in certain student’s university accounts and thereafter contacted the respective learning institutions to inform them that the department had paid extra funds to them in error.

“She requested them to pay back part of the extra funds into a specific account, which she allegedly used to launder the bursary funds and used it for her personal gain,” said Nkwalase.

He added that the transactions were paid over to about five student accounts at different institutions of higher learning between 2009 and 2014.

“The Hawks investigation on the matter started in 2016 after a tip-off was received regarding the movement of funds to the individual’s account.”

Nkwalase stated that the accused was released on bail of R3 000 after she was charged for fraud and money laundering.

“The case was postponed until September 12 for the State to provide the defence with a copy of the case docket.”

Meanwhile, a deputy director at the Department of Health, V Halvey, has been ordered to repay the department an amount of R1.4 million in lieu of a salary overpayment.

Halvey was advised that the excess payments made to him from July 1, 2010 until January 31, 2017 were erroneously paid to him.

Advised

He was required to start repayment as from Friday (September 1), where the department advised him that he had been paid as a chief engineer since 2010 instead of being remunerated as a deputy director.

Monthly deductions will be made from his salary, commencing this month, for a period of 12 months.

The advisory stated that an incorrect salary, salary level, scale or reward awarded to an employee had to be corrected with effect from the date it commenced, regardless of whether the employee was aware of the error or not.

The Department of Health did not respond to media enquiries at the time of going to print.