Here’s how IEC commissioner, Nomsa Masuku allegedly defrauded Standard Bank trust

Here’s how IEC commissioner, Nomsa Masuku allegedly defrauded Standard Bank trust

Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) commissioner Dr Nomsa Praisy Masuku was allegedly the only active participant in the awarding of a bursary and payments to one of her relatives.

Masuku, 62, was arrested on Friday and appeared in the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court on charges of theft, fraud and money laundering involving R1.2m.

She was granted bail of R20,000 and will return to court on September 4.

Masuku, who was the head of Standard Bank’s Corporate social investment programme (CSI), was one of the founders of the bank’s Adopt A School Scholarship Trust established in March 2011.

The trust was established to provide scholarships, bursaries and awards for study, research or teaching to pupils from schools adopted by the programme and who meet selection criteria.

According to the charge sheet, Mauku allegedly transferred R800,000 in December 2012 and March 2013 to Silver Arrow Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd whose director, Mark Phillip Roux, was one of the trustees of the trust.

Roux allegedly transferred an amount of R335,000 in six separate instalments back to Masuku’s account “with the intent to conceal the source of this money which is Standard Bank”.

It is alleged that Ciniso Masuku, who did not qualify to benefit as his marks were low and his aunt was working for the bank, was one of the beneficiaries.

Masuku was allegedly the only participant when Ciniso was awarded a bursary and payments.

Makabongwe Muzikayise Kuhlase, a son of Masuku’s half brother, was also an unqualified beneficiary and did not apply for the bursary, according to the court papers.

But Masuku allegedly sent an email “to one of the trustees who [is] still at large as the warrant of his arrest was authorised to add him in the pool of scholarship awardees for 2013,” read the charge sheet.

The matter was initially flagged by Standard Bank and reported to police 10 years ago.

Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale told TimesLIVE police were looking into other suspects who might have collaborated with Masuku.

“We are not ruling out the possibility of having other suspects arrested. We are not saying she was alone, we are in that process of finding out with whom. The investigations are ongoing,” she said.

Masuku was appointed as an IEC commissioner in 2018. According to her profile on the IEC website, she started her career in election management in 1998.

She developed the commission’s strategy and implementation framework for education for democracy development. Her work included the provision and promotion of civic, balloting and voter education.

The IEC said she took a seven-year hiatus from the commission when she worked for Standard Bank’s CSI programme, “where she used her skill set to develop and implement strategies for the bank’s facilitative role in community development”.

Masuku’s CV states she has a PhD in applied English linguistics from the University of Birmingham, UK, and contributed to the body of work related to South Africa’s national curriculum statement.

She has also worked with women’s groups including Women and the Law in Southern Africa, the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse, and a range of civil society groupings focusing on conflict mediation, youth and women.

The IEC said it would monitor developments in the matter.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Masuku allegedly transferred a sum of R800,000 to a second person implicated in the case.

“Furthermore, the state alleges that she illicitly awarded bursaries worth R400,000 to ineligible recipients, including family members and friends. The matter has been adjourned to [give] the state sufficient time to apprehend the outstanding suspect,” Mjonondwane said.


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