Former KZN Cogta officials found guilty in R7.5m fraud case

10 October 2019 - 17:25 By LWANDILE BHENGU
The conviction of two officials and their custody ahead of sentencing sends a strong message that embezzlement of public funds will not be tolerated, says KZN's MEC for Cogta, Sipho Hlomuka.
The conviction of two officials and their custody ahead of sentencing sends a strong message that embezzlement of public funds will not be tolerated, says KZN's MEC for Cogta, Sipho Hlomuka.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

Two former KwaZulu-Natal department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) officials have been convicted in a R7.5m fraud case.

Patricia Chule and Hlengiwe Hlela appeared in the Durban commercial crime court on Wednesday. They were found guilty in a 2015 fraud case in which money that was meant to build a creche was transferred into the account of Pietermaritzburg businessman Mex Dladla.

Dladla, who was pinned as the mastermind, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years' jail in February.

KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Kara said in a statement in February that Dladla was in a relationship with Chule when the fraud was committed four years ago.

Chule transferred Cogta funds to Dladla, that were meant to build a creche in the Ingwe municipality in the KZN Midlands. It was later established that her immediate supervisor, Hlela, had authorised the procedure. The accused splurged the money on clothing, shoes and unspecified luxury items.

The two were employed in the department's chain management unit.

“The conviction of two former officials and their custody ahead of sentencing sends a strong message that embezzlement of public funds cannot be tolerated,” said KZN's MEC for Cogta, Sipho Hlomuka.

The pair will be back in court on November 8 for sentencing.


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