PRASA dismisses employee following fraud investigation

24th November 2023 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

State-owned passenger rail company the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has dismissed an employee for the alleged theft of R34.5-million.

PRASA detected irregular payments during routine financial review processes, which was escalated to senior leadership. PRASA's Internal Audit department and an existing supplier conducted a forensic investigation, which revealed three fraudulent transactions allegedly executed by a PRASA employee totalling nearly R9.55-million.

On being interrogated by the investigators, the employee is said to have admitted to committing the fraud and subsequently returned the stolen funds.

Following this initial discovery, PRASA immediately suspended the employee and reported the matter to the South African Police Service.

The company continued its internal investigation and unearthed additional fraudulent transactions allegedly by the same individual amounting to nearly R24.98-million. Upon interrogation, the employee is said to have also confessed to these additional unauthorised transactions.

As an outcome of the process, the employee was dismissed, and a criminal case of fraud is pending.

The investigation helped pinpoint internal control deficiencies that enabled the fraud. PRASA has introduced enhanced measures to bolster internal controls and prevent future fraud, it notes.

"PRASA's management remains committed to upholding integrity, transparency and accountability. Going forward, the organisation will remain vigilant against potential financial irregularities," the company says.