UNISA says handed over corruption cases to Hawks and police

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University of South Africa (UNISA) Chief Financial Officer Khathutshelo Ramukumba says the institution has handed over cases of corruption to both the police and the Hawks.

UNISA held a media briefing at their Tshwane campus on Thursday. This after the Pretoria High Court ruled that the decision by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to appoint an administrator for the university was unlawful and in breach of previous court orders.

The Minister placed the institution under administration after an independent assessor’s report found instances of financial mismanagement.

“There are a number of investigations that would have been carried out by internal audit, which resulted in criminal cases being opened. And some of those cases are actually sitting with the Hawks and out of the external audit process. For an example, in the 2021 financial year, the report of the external auditors makes mention of three specific matters that have been reported to the police by the university. So, as and when the university becomes aware of wrongdoing, those are subjected to audit processes,” Ramukumba elaborates.

UNISA says they did not institute their own investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement at the institution.

“So, the university did not investigate graft corruption irregularities non-compliance only because of the assessor report or the MTT. That is the tradition of any university to have an internal audit office as it would to have external processes and where in there is non-compliance irregularity, corruption or malfeasance, the university has acted. If it has not suspended, it has terminated contracts of people if it has not terminated them, it has reported the graft to the South African Police Services,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Puleng LenkaBula,.

LenkaBula has set the record straight on the Ministerial Task Team or MTT report on UNISA that was handed over to the institution in 2021.

The recommendations of the report prompted Nzimande to commission an independent assessor’s report which further recommended that the university be placed under administration.

LenkaBula says the involvement of the assessor was not imposed on the institution but was rather agreed to. This after, both the institution and the department did not adopt the MTT report as a final report and it was agreed that both parties hold a different position.

“Key to the recommendations of the Ministerial Task Team, which was just a test team to deep dive on the quality, coherence, feasibility of the qualifications, academics, teaching and the core business and governance architecture of the university. Instead of addressing the core terms of reference which would have been agreed so by the university, the outcomes of the Ministerial Task Team were different. The MTT report, therefore, has a lot of contradictions which UNISA responded to in a meeting of council and the minister. The two parties did not adopt the Ministerial Task Team report as a final report that is adopted by two parties,” LenkaBula elaborates.