No fewer than four (4) Northern Cape government officials have been apprehended for a R6.7 million fraud case, SurgeZirc reports.
The culprits were identified as officials of the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism who were age 47 to 66 respectively.
Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase stated that the suspects are expected to appear before the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court as they were arrested on charges of fraud, and related crime that contravenes the Diamonds and Public Finance Management acts.
SurgeZirc gathered that the suspects allegedly purchased diamonds for a European Union-funded training programme in which the diamonds later went missing.
“These charges stem from donor funding surpassing R6.7 million, received from the European Union, during the 2010-’11 financial year. The funds were intended for training students in cutting and polishing uncut diamonds,” said Nkwalase.
“The diamonds were bought in March 2011 from a private entity without the necessary licenses to buy rough diamonds, and consequently these diamonds were stored at the premises of the same private entity,” Nkwalase said.
SurgeZirc understands that over forty students enrolled for the programme that requires them to undergo a mining qualification course in cutting and polishing diamonds, facilitated by the Kimberley Diamonds International Jewellery Academy.
Nkwalase said: “It was established that the diamonds were missing and unaccounted for in July 2012. This was uncovered during a random inspection by the Auditor-General. The Hawks investigation into the diamonds saga resulted in the arrest of four senior officials from the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism”.