Staff members steal R2,5m from W Cape administration

Thieving staff members caused losses worth R2,5-million in the Western Cape provincial administration in the last 12 months, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court heard on Thursday.

The deputy director in the administration’s Forensic Investigation Unit (FIU), Rajendra Naidoo, testified at the trial of a former staff member, Melanie Otto.

Otto was on Thursday sentenced to three years house arrest for the theft of R82 000 over a period of three years.

She also received a suspended 12-month jail sentence.

Naidoo said theft by means of the manipulation of the computer system was on the increase throughout the provincial administration, and it involved mainly young women aged between 20 and 30-years-old.

He said methods used to steal were sophisticated, and the FIU had to view the financial losses as serious, because the thefts impacted negatively on service delivery.

He urged magistrate Amrith Chabilall to impose a sentence that would be a deterrent to others with similar ideas, in order to alert them to the consequences of theft.

He added: “It will make the FIU’s job much easier, in terms of preventing theft.” - Sapa


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