Hawks zoom in on R2,9m municipal fuel fraud

Fuel transactions that allegedly occurred between 1 November 2017 and 10 February 2018 were investigated. Photo: Pixabay

MOKOPANE – Bosveld received a report from within the municipality that stated that the Municipal Manager, Marcus Mtombeni received a request on 27 February from the Acting Chief Financial Officer, Sasa Mulenga, to investigate suspicious fuel transactions that apparently occurred between 1 November 2017 and 10 February 2018.

Fuel cards from the Technical Department and Community Service Department were used in the transactions and involved fuel for a series of vehicles including bakkies, TLB’s, excavators, graders and trucks, tractors, compactors and tipper trucks.

The total amounts incurred are R1,95 million by the Technical Department, and R963 289 by the Community Services Department.

The municipality suffered a loss of R2,92 million over a period of four months.

This report stated that it was established that fuel card numbers were duplicated and used at the petrol station in Mokopane without the vehicles or fuel cards being physically presented at the garage.

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None of the registration numbers on the merchant slip belongs to the municipality and the amounts processed exceeded the fuel cards’ capacity. It was also found that drivers’ signatures were forged and transactions took place mainly during the evening.

During the municipality’s investigation, the garage employees denied any involvement and any knowledge of the irregular transactions. It has not yet been established if any municipality employees are involved.

According to the report, the non-cooperation of the owner of the garage and the employees made it difficult to establish any involvement from municipal staff.

The Spokesperson for Limpopo Hawks, Mathimba Maluleke, confirmed they are investigating the case but couldn’t comment as the case is ongoing.

Korny Dekker, DA Councillor said they cannot comment at this stage for the same reason.

Marcelle Maritz, Limpopo Leader, Freedom Front Plus said it was shocking that the municipality could lose R2,9 million before the error was picked up.

“We are glad to hear that the Hawks are investigating the case.”

According to Maritz, the municipality is already under the strains of a financial crisis.

“The municipality has to collect R6 million every month just to break even and maintain operations.”

Malesela Selokela, Communications Head of Mogalakwena Municipality, said the municipality is in the process of investigating the matter.

“The municipality will respond in due course after the investigation has been finalised. Steps will be taken against the guilty parties.”

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  AUTHOR
Mariëtte Roos
Journalist (Bosveld Review)

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