UJ commended for acting in alleged fraud case

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has welcomed the swift action taken by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) over alleged fraud by two senior council members.

Two weeks ago, the university informed the Minister of the outcome of an independent forensic investigation probing allegations of fraud by the institution's Chair of Council and an executive finance manager within the university's commercial domain.

The council considered a two-month investigation conducted by auditing firm, Sizwe Ntsaluba Godobo, which concluded that there was a prima facie case that the actions of the Chair of Council, Professor Roy Marcus, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance, Jaco van Schoor, contravened legal provisions and ethical obligations, including those contained in the university's statute.

The council is currently putting in place a civil case to recover all the money allegedly siphoned from the university and is also considering instituting criminal charges against the two.

Minister Nzimande commended the university council for demonstrating exemplary leadership and the swift manner in which they dealt with this matter.

Without pre-judging this matter, it is good for UJ and the entire higher education system that the university has resolved to take all necessary steps to recover any financial losses that it may have suffered.

We are also glad to learn that UJ will be instructing its lawyers to investigate whether there is also a basis for laying criminal charges against any of those implicated in the case. This should send a strong message to other public institutions of our zero tolerance to any form of corruption, and that we will deal ferociously with the perpetrators, especially those entrusted with public money, Minister Nzimande said.

The Minister also wished UJ's newly-appointed council Chairperson, Mike Teke, well. Teke wrote to Minister Nzimande last week Thursday, as required by the Higher Education Act, advising the Minister of the outcome of the forensic investigation into the matter.

He also informed the Minister that Professor Marcus had resigned from the UJ Council and that the university was immediately instituting disciplinary action against the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

In the interest of maintaining stability to the university, I have since ordered my department to immediately initiate the process of appointing a new ministerial appointee to UJ council to replace Professor Marcus, Minister Nzimande said.

Source: South African Government News Agency