South African Police Service
January 28, 2023
Fraud: Department of Agriculture senior officials and farmers summoned to court
Three senior officials from Limpopo Department of Agriculture together with four farmers have been summoned to appear in court for allegedly defrauding the Department.
It is reported that between 2013 and 2014, the Department of Agriculture set aside a budget to assist small farmers who were affected by the floods in Vhembe District.
The affected farmers were allegedly required to submit their invoices to the Department in order to be reimbursed.
It is further alleged that the officials from the Department connived with the farmers to submit fictitious invoices, as a result, they were successfully processed and the money was paid out.
Furthermore, the farmers would withdraw the money and share with the officials.
The Department’s forensic investigators discovered the shenanigans in 2020 and opened a case that was later referred to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation.
The matter has been under investigation since 2020 until 27 January 2023 when the suspects were summoned to appear in court.
The Department has suffered a loss of over R2 million due to these fraudulent activities.
All the suspects who include the Chief Director (49), the Director (46) and Assistant Director (63) from Department of Agriculture as well as four farmers based in Vhembe District are scheduled to appear before the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes court on 2 March 2023.