Cipro suspends five staff members after fraud investigation
Johannesburg|Keith Sendwe|Melanie Bernard-Fryer|Michael Twum-Darko
© Reuse this
The Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) has suspended five of its staff members for allegedly participating in fraudulent activities, CEO Keith Sendwe announced on Friday.
After receiving complaints from companies, Cipro had initiated a forensic investigation in the middle of last year. By December, 143 individuals had been suspected of participating in fraudulent activities, Cipro chief information officer Dr Michael Twum-Darko told a media briefing in Johannesburg.
A further internal fraud investigation, started earlier this year, had led to the suspension of the five employees, all said to be junior staff members, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Cipro planned to prosecute any perpetrators involved in the matter.
A number of cases had also been opened with the South African Police Service against individuals who claimed to be agents of Cipro, said Sendwe.
He explained that the alleged fraudsters had falsely claimed associations with entities that were registered on Cipro’s data base in order to clone legitimate businesses for financial gain.
“A number of companies have incurred considerable financial losses through the callousness of individuals who participate in these fraudulent activities,” he stated.
However, Sendwe and Cipro COO Melanie Bernard-Fryer would not be drawn on how much money was involved in the fraudulent activities, saying only that investigations were continuing.
Cipro had established a multidisciplinary task team to conduct a full investigation into the extent of the fraud, said Sendwe.
Bernard-Fryer said that the organisation was, in collaboration with a number of other parties including the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and the Department of Home Affairs, conducting a comprehensive audit of the 458 000 private companies and the 3,5-million close corporations that were registered with Cipro.
Sendwe emphasised that the organisation had zero tolerance for fraudulent activities.
“It is both inconceivable and unacceptable that this could have happened. We wish to provide our clients with the assurance that we have done everything within our means to block possible avenues that could be exploited in order to commit crimes of this nature,” he said.
In the interim, the organisation was putting measures in place to prevent further fraudulent activities from occurring. These measures included a new customer verification system and a verification system for external agents of Cipro.
Meanwhile, Bernard-Fryer said that Cipro, in collaboration with Sars, would be deregistering about 65 000 companies in the near-term.
While some of these might have been involved in fraudulent registrations, this was mainly as a result of these companies not having paid their taxes or submitting their tax returns to Sars, she noted.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
© Reuse this
On the back of its first load-shedding event in over six years, Eskom has warned the system will remain constrained, saying on Friday that that the risk of “emergency conditions” developing would remain well into April, owing to high levels of planned maintenance...
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the US Port of Miami are to collaborate on vital skills and training after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Cape Town. Delegations from the US and South Africa agreed that there were numerous opportunities to...
Telecommunications group Telkom and South Africa’s second-largest mobile operator MTN on Friday entered into a heads of agreement, the conclusion of which would allow the duo to roam on each other’s network and enable Telkom to derisk its mobile unit. It would...
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
This Week's Magazine
A structured approach, wherein managers personally engage at each level of the project, is necessary to mitigate delays to the workflow on mega construction projects, says State-owned Eskom Kusile power station projects GM Abram Masango. The 4 800 MW Kusile power...
Power Evacuation 220 kV transmission lines will evacuate electricity from the Rusumo Falls hydroelectric plant
Construction of transmission lines to evacuate power from a regional hydroelectric project in East Africa, which was hanging on the balance following the withdrawal of financing by key partners, is now back on track. After six months of uncertainty, the African...
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between South African and Malaysian companies at the Malaysian High Commission in Pretoria on Friday. These MoUs are part of the indirect offsets programme South Africa is providing in return for Malaysia’s...
MADE IN DURBAN Pricing for the new Corolla starts at R214 990
The South African new vehicle market may well dip to 640 000 units in 2014, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) sales and marketing senior VP Calvyn Hamman. This is the first prediction that anticipates a drop in the market. To date economists and industry bodies...
FRESH FACED The new model succeeds the Nissan E20 of the 1990s
Nissan will re-enter the South African minibus taxi industry in March, when the new NV350 Impendulo goes on sale. The 16-seater has been specifically tailored to meet the terms of government’s Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, which aims to replace South Africa’s...