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Former CoJ employee charged with 94 counts of fraud

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A former City of Johannesburg employee‚ Nelson Damari‚ is facing 94 counts of fraud for allegedly defrauding the City by irregularly issuing Export Certificates and allegedly pocketing about R100‚000.

Damari‚ a former Operations Manager at the City’s Environmental Health Department‚ appeared at the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court last week and was granted bail of R3‚000. The matter was postponed to August 25.

The first allegation was reported in 2012 by Davita Trading (PTY) LTD‚ a subsidiary of Tiger Brands. It is alleged that Damari issued 50 Export Certificates to Davita Trading (PTY) LTD‚ but only charged them for 11 certificates and demanded that they be paid for in cash or by cash cheque.

Johannesburgburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the investigation had revealed that Damari had been defrauding the City since November 2009. It is alleged that he approached a number of Export and Import Companies and offered to assist them with obtaining the certificates quicker. In his capacity‚ Damari was not supposed to issue Export and Import Certificates.

The first four irregular certificates were issued in 2009 for an amount of R2‚860.

“A total of 94 certificates were irregularly issued by Damari. All monies relating to the certificates were paid into Damari’s personal bank account‚” Mashaba said‚ adding that the City doesn’t issue invoices for Export Certificates.

“An Exporter first pays at the City’s Revenue Paypoints and to the City’s Bank Account. Upon payment the Exporter will be issued with a receipt which should be kept as proof of payment. An Environmental Health Officer conducting a site inspection would then ask for proof of payment and if the premises complies with the Health Act and the Guidelines‚ a certificate will then be issued.”

Mashaba said it had has also been established that the Export Certificates that were irregularly and fraudulently issued to one company were on the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development letterhead. The Export Certificates were also accompanied by Veterinary Health Attestations that were allegedly completed and stamped by Damari with a fraudulent stamp‚ which described him as Dr MN Damari.

“When an investigation into the allegations commenced in 2012‚ Damari resigned as an employee of the City.

“It is astonishing that the investigation into this serious matter was allowed to persist for so long‚” Mashaba said.

“This is yet another example of how previous administrations dealt with corruption: by sweeping it under the carpet‚” he added.

He said this situation was just another example of how his administration wouldl make every effort to pursue the prosecution of corrupt individuals and recoup money owed to the City’s residents.

“That is why we will continue to vigorously pursue every allegation of corruption.

“Corruption has no place in this administration and we will work tirelessly‚ and in collaboration with institutions such as the Hawks‚ SAPS and all other institutions within the criminal justice system to ensure that the residents of Johannesburg receive the quality services they deserve.”

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