An accountant in the Directorate of Education at Rundu is being investigated for allegedly embezzling funds from the Ministry of Education between 2013 and September 2016.
The investigation is being conducted by the police and the Directorate of Education at Rundu.
The suspect, whose identity is known but cannot be made public until after she has appeared in court, is suspected of defrauding the ministry by making unlawful payments into various teachers’ bank accounts without authorisation from supervisors, using other colleagues’ passwords.
It is suspected that the accountant embezzled more than N$11 million, according to chief regional officer for the Kavango East Regional Council (KERC) Ludwig Thikusho, who oversees the work of the Directorate of Education.
Ten teachers whose bank accounts the stolen money was deposited into under the pretense that they were receiving bonuses are also being investigated.
“The suspect is not yet arrested, as the investigations are not yet finalised,” said Kavango East regional crime investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton, who confirmed the case to New Era yesterday. The suspect reportedly admitted her involvement in the scam when she was approached by her superiors.
She is said to have admitted to using her colleagues’ passwords and to having processed such transactions into various bank accounts.
The 35-year-old female suspect is a well known resident of Rundu’s Kaisosi location. It is further alleged that after the accountant transferred the money she would share the proceeds with the teachers, whose accounts she used in the transactions.
“The whole amount is not yet determined, as the auditors have not yet finalised their inspections, but from August to September 2016 the ministry was defrauded with an amount of N$239 700,” Thikusho revealed.
“During the month of August 2016 alone there were 25 transactions with 10 teachers, with some of their names appearing more than once.
“And all those 25 transactions reflect an amount of N$9 600, as if it is a bonus that was being paid,” Thikusho noted.
“Yes, the payroll for the Directorate of Education is handled in Windhoek, but we do have terminals here that can update information,” Thikusho added.
He could, however, not explain how the suspect was able to process so many transactions without being detected for four years.
“So what we have done thus far is that I have already instructed the acting director of education in the region, Christine Shilima, to open a case with the police. So, while the police investigates we will also investigate,” Thikusho said.
According to him, the suspect will be summoned to a disciplinary hearing after the facts have been established, in line with the Public Service Act of 1999.
– Additional reporting by Nampa