Further UKZN arrests could be imminent

 

 

 

The whole-scale investigation into fraudulent admissions conducted by the University has resulted in a search and seizure operation involving 286 staff members that could be potentially implicated. This is being undertaken with the assistance of an external forensic audit company. The aim of the operation is to gather further evidence, investigate and determine the full extent of staff involvement.

 

On Friday, a team of detectives from the police’s special investigations directorate known as the Hawks raided offices at the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Eighteen staff members from the Pmb Humanities faculty are being probed for involvement in irregularities in admissions.

On Thursday morning students and staff were greeted to a contingent of Hawk’s investigators armed with a search and seizure warrant authorising them to raid various offices in the campus. The focus of the raid, at this stage appeared to be centered around the Humanities faculty, where the detectives confiscated at least two hard-drives. Although details of the raid remained sketchy, information suggested that the Hawks targeted the hard-drives of two administrators, one in the post graduate office and another at student affairs, both of whom appear to have been suspended by the university.

The seizure of the hard-drives is likely, according to well-placed staff, to have “staggering repercussions” on the functioning and academic programme of the institution.

“This is going to have staggering administrative repercussions on the functioning of the university as it will affect emails, payments, other administrative processes and may even result in the second semester registration being put on hold, bearing in mind it should have closed at the end of July but there were delays as the system wasn’t working. This development may prompt the institution to grant an extension for registration,,” said a university staff member.

UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld said the university management had initiated this investigation and others that has led to an uncovering a syndicate.

“This investigation was a lengthy process as it was critical to ensure that all people implicated face the full might of the law,” said van Jaarsveld.

 

“Acts of fraud, bribery and corruption divert scarce resources away from the university’s core operations and threaten not only this institution’s reputation, but also the integrity of our selection and admission processes.”

 

The Vice-Chancellor challenged other academic institutions to conduct their own robust investigations to drive out further corruption in the sector.

 

To date, five students have been implicated in the UKZN admissions scam.  Reiterating the imperative that the university remains committed to protecting the integrity and reputation of all qualifications awarded by the Institution, Dr van Jaarsveld didn’t rule out the fact that further arrests could be imminent.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi

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