Former Mpumalanga businessman ordered to pay R3m after defrauding education department

22 August 2021 - 16:00 By Nomahlubi Sonjica
A prominent Mpumalanga businessman and former president of a political party has been ordered to pay R3m for submitting a fraudulent claim to the department of education.
A prominent Mpumalanga businessman and former president of a political party has been ordered to pay R3m for submitting a fraudulent claim to the department of education.
Image: 123RF/BELCHONOK

A prominent Mpumalanga businessman and former president of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) has been ordered to pay R3m for submitting fraudulent claims to the Department of Education, police said on Sunday.

 Seropane Senyane Alton Mphethi, 55, was on Friday sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he pays the R3m, with the first instalment of R50,000 due on or before August 30.

His two companies, Ngwato and Barudi, were fined R100,000 each. 

Mphethi lost his party membership in 2014 after he was sentenced to eight years in jail for defeating the ends of justice in a murder case in which he was convicted of being an accomplice.

“The accused had a contract with the Mpumalanga department of education (DOE) to transport schoolchildren around Gert Sibande District Municipality.

“He then submitted duplicate claims to the DOE where he changed the invoice numbers and the dates when submitting the claims. The department suffered a loss of R830,000 on the first entity and R1,997,964 on the second one,” said police spokesperson Dineo Sekgotodi.      

​She said the matter was reported to the Hawks and Mphethi was arrested by the Mpumalanga serious commercial crime investigation team in 2015.

He was convicted on July 31 of 34 counts of fraud by the Ermelo regional court. 

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