SSC Cracks Fraud Ring

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK An employee at the Social Security Commission (SSC) was fired and 15 outsiders arrested for allegedly engaging in fraudulent activities that cost the institution hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although he could not give details, Corporate Affairs Officer at the SSC Rino Muranda told New Era yesterday that Maxwell Spanneberg from the Registry Division was dismissed after he was found guilty of misconduct. Maxwell Spanneberg allegedly used passwords of other staff members to lodge, process and authorize fraudulent sick leave claims amounting to N$340 000. This is not the first time that someone has been dismissed for alleged fraud running into hundreds of thousands of dollars at the SSC. Muranda said the dismissed registry clerk “was somehow able to process these claims”. Just like in any institution, staff members at the SSC are restricted from accessing some files such as those Spanneberg tampered with. Spannenberg’s fraudulent ways were uncovered after some relevant authorities within the SSC suspected some “unholy” activities in his department. This followed his suspension on August 30, 2006 after which a full-scale internal investigation was ordered. Muranda said that at a disciplinary hearing held two weeks ago, Spanneberg was found guilty of misconduct in terms of the provision of the Social Security Commission staff policy and procedure manual. Currently, the SSC is preparing documents to open a criminal case against Spanneberg and according to Muranda, this would be done before the end of this week. The case was also reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Deputy Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission Erna van der Merwe yesterday revealed that 15 people have been arrested in this SSC case and would appear in court today. She could not divulge more, stating that the case is still under investigation. The commission believes that the criminal system will take its course in bringing this matter to its logical conclusion and to ensure that the suspects face the full wrath of the law, Muranda stated. Spanneberg worked for the SSC for seven years.