Parliament’s Committee to advocate for criminal charges against Prasa employees in ‘ghost’ saga

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Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport says it will push for criminal charges to be laid against Passenger Rail Agency of South African (Prasa) employees, including managers, that were involved in the hiring of over 1100 workers.

It has been discovered that they were hired fraudulently.

The Transport Department has announced that there had been widespread identity theft, fake qualifications, and some workers were found to be facing serious criminal charges.

The workers have since resigned, saving the department about R 200 million.

The committee’s chairperson, Lisa Mangcu, says that making announcements without accountability means nothing.

Mangcu says, “Those who did it will be held responsible, that we are able to know who did it, for how long? how much was lost? what are the plans so that this does not happen again? When the opportunity arises, to meet the AG (Auditor General), this is one of the things we will be raising. We want to satisfy ourselves that criminal charges are against those that are responsible.”

Forensic investigation

On Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said a forensic investigation will be conducted at Prasa. He said interventions will include the installation of a digital fingerprint and a photo identity verification process with the assistance of the Home Affairs Department.

“The completion of this exercise will then enable Prasa to freeze the salaries of those flagged. Digitisation of files and supporting documents, clean-up of the employee database, and employees who submitted fraudulent qualifications will be served with letters to explain themselves within 48 hours from Monday, failing which stricter action will be taken in line with the applicable prescripts. Criminal charges will be laid against those who have committed fraud,” Mbalula added.

Mbalula announced that the Chief Financial Officer and the Head of Information Communication Technology at Prasa have also been suspended.

VIDEO: Minister of Transport briefs on the investigations into Ghost Employees at Prasa: