A 44-year-old senior official attached to the department of justice was arrested on Friday following investigations into corruption and fraud at the office of the Mpumalanga Master of the High Court.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said the investigation, launched by the Serious Commercial Investigations division, had been probing the alleged siphoning of claimants’ funds from the Master’s office for almost two years.
“It was established that the senior official allegedly directed claimants to her ‘lawyer’ boyfriend to process their claims. Claimants never received their money. Instead it was shared among the two. So far almost R1.7m has disappeared affecting eight families,” Mulaudzi said.
He added that enquiries had revealed that the boyfriend was a lawyer and that the official had misrepresented the state by claiming to be a South African.
“The department of home affairs’ immigration division has finalised their investigation into her status in the country.”
It was suspected that the missing R1.7m was just the tip of the iceberg, Mulaudzi said. He urged affected members of the Mpumalanga community to contact Capt Mandla Mphephethe on 071 481 3295.
“The boyfriend has since handed himself over to the investigators this morning (Friday) and the two suspects will appear today at Nelspruit magistrate’s court on charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering, impersonation and violation of the Immigration Act.
“A search and seizure operation will also be conducted today at the boyfriend’s offices in Nelspruit as part of the ongoing investigation.”