Two former executives who ripped off the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have been ordered to pay back the money they allegedly siphoned from the university.
Professor Roy Marcus — the former chairperson of the university’s council — and Jaco van Schoor — the former deputy vice-chancellor of finance — used fraudulent invoices to channel money intended for UJ’s projects (one of which was solar geyser installation) to companies linked to them.
Neither Marcus nor Schoor were in the Johannesburg high court when the order for them to pay R14-million to UJ was granted.
On Wednesday, The Star reported the two men did not oppose an application for damages that UJ and the Resolution Circle — a company wholly owned by the university and used in its commercialisation activities — brought against them in the Johannesburg high court.
According to UJ’s content and publications manager Priyal Pillay however, since the judgment was granted in Marcus and Van Schoor’s absence, “There is still a possibility for them to apply for rescission of the judgment.”
According to court papers, Clarify Investment earned over R10 871 506.14 from the transactions, while Triad Capital and Mainstream Aquaculture received R2.2-million and R1.2-million respectively.
The money paid to the three companies was then channelled to Innovative Investment Corporation, and UJ received neither services nor goods from the transactions. Marcus and Van Schoor were directors of Innovative Investment Corporation, a fact that they did not declare to UJ, The Star reported.
According to court papers, the payments were made in violation of the university’s procurement policies. By defrauding the university, UJ noted in its court papers that the pair had “wrongfully caused the plaintiffs damages by their intentional or negligent conduct”.
In a statement, UJ noted that the companies had “acted fraudulently by submitting invoices for work they had not done”.
Marcus resigned from his position in September last year, and Van Schoor was fired after disciplinary proceedings in 2017 found that he had breached his employment contract with UJ.
In response to the above article and others in the media, Marcus and Van Schoor responded saying:
On 8 August 2018, The Star published an article headed “UJ retrieves stolen R14m” regarding Professor Roy Marcus and Mr Jaco van Schoor. The Star did not afford Professor Marcus or Mr van Schoor a right of reply in respect of this article.
The attorneys for Professor Marcus and Mr van Schoor have provided the following response to the article:
“Both Professor Marcus and Mr van Schoor strenuously deny the allegations made against them by the University of Johannesburg. There is no basis whatsoever for a conclusion that they “stole” money or in any way acted fraudulently or unlawfully.
When the High Court granted the application for summary judgment order referred to in the article, it did not have the benefit of the version of Professor Marcus or Mr van Schoor on oath, nor did it hear argument from our clients’ counsel. An application to rescind the High Court order will be launched on 10 August 2018, so as to allow the matter to proceed to trial.
Professor Marcus and Mr van Schoor are of the view that they have not engaged in any wrongdoing. They welcome the opportunity for the matter to proceed to trial on its merits, so that they can fully ventilate the issues and clear their names”.