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KZN higher education condemns theft of funds from institutions

Four suspects appeared in court on Friday for the alleged theft of R30 million from the account of a KZN TVET college.

Four suspects accused of looting R30 million from the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal TVET College appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 31 July 2020. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/EWN.

DURBAN– The Higher Education Department says it wants the court to send a strong message to corrupt officials who loot money meant for tertiary institutions.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) regional manager Sipho Nzimande spoke to Eyewitness News after four suspects accused of defrauding the KZN Coastal Technical Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) College of R30 million appeared in the Durban specialised commercial crimes court on Friday.

It's alleged the funds were looted after former chief financial officer, Zaitun Shaik, colluded with attorney Azgar Khan and successfully pitched a fake investment proposal to the college.

Shaik and Khan are said to have opened a bank account to launder the money with the assistance of businessperson Shaariq Ansari between November 2018 and October 2019.

Money from the account was also transferred to the account of the fourth accused, Sharlene Bechoo – who is married to Khan.

The department’s Nzimande said the incident had had an adverse effect on the college.

“Such monies would have contributed a lot, because we are talking about online and 4IR and all things that would make it easy for students to access their learning material, and with that money gone, we don’t know what the future holds.”

The accused have been released on bail totalling R145,000.

They are all expected back in court in October.

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