What appears to have been a fairly lucrative, but illegal, pipeline tapping into the SA Air Force’s (SAAF’s) leave and subsistence and travel (S&T) budgets came to an abrupt end with three arrests.
The arrest of a colonel, warrant officer and flight sergeant based at SAAF headquarters in Pretoria between March 1 and 4 by military police (MP) was the outcome of a joint MP/Defence Intelligence investigation.
The trio face charges in connection with defrauding the State on discounting leave as well as using forged signatures and submitting fraudulent guest house accommodation invoices. An SA National Defence Force (SANDF) statement has it that an amount of R1.1 million is involved.
All three were informed of charges against them and released on leave pending finalisation of suspension from service. They are also prohibited from entering SAAF headquarters to prevent interference with the investigation, which is ongoing.
Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, SANDF Director: Corporate Communications, said the trio have not entered pleas yet and will appear in military court on a date to be determined by prosecutors from SANDF Legal Services.
In the 2018/19 financial year the Department of Defence (DoD) established the Directorate Anti-Corruption and Anti-Fraud (DACAF) as a nodal point responsible for forensic auditing and related issues. It is also tasked with ensuring evidence of corruption and fraud in the national defence force and the department is handed to the Military Police Division (MPD) for further investigation.
The 2018 year saw finalisation of 44 corruption and fraud cases in the DoD/SANDF. Three were brought to DACAF’s attention by government’s national anti-corruption hotline with the remaining 41 reported to the DoD’s own anti-corruption hotline.
SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke commended the swift action of military law enforcement officials in apprehending the suspects.