Appeal for SPCA donors to assist SAPS

The organisation was recently fleeced of more than R250 000 by an employee who has since skipped the country.
The employee, who worked as their public relations officer and fundraiser, and is currently facing criminal charges of fraud, fled the country after scamming elderly retirees into donating large sums of money, she said was for the SPCA. It is, however, believed that she replaced her account number with the SPCA’s account number and kept the majority of the donations. She is reportedly now residing somewhere in Italy.
The uMngeni SPCA was first alerted to the fraudulent activity when a local resident phoned requesting a tax invoice for a large donation she had made, but the receipt of funds could not be traced.
A friend and former SPCA colleague expressed her utter shock at the revelation that the person she “worked so closely with for many years” had done the unthinkable.
“I honestly couldn’t believe it when I heard. I worked closely alongside her and only ever knew her as a huge animal lover, I honestly can’t comprehend all of this, ”she explained.
uMngeni SPCA confirmed they were working closely with the Howick SAPS in investigating a case of theft by the former employee.
“We wish to assure our donors and supporters that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that the stolen funds are recovered and that justice is served. No person should get away with stealing funds from a non-profit organisation,” Dave Taylor, Chairman of the uMngeni SPCA said.
Pietermaritzburg SPCA confirmed they have an effective system in place to safeguard themselves against fraud, and have to date, “never experienced a situation relating to fraud.”
“Our books are audited on an annual basis and I feel confident that our auditing system is efficient enough to deter fraud to a large extent, of course along with modern technology, a magnitude of new types of fraud have emerged, but we remain cautious and continue to diligently follow our anti-fraud protocols,” said Trevor Cox, the Pietermaritzburg SPCA chairman.
National SPCA (NSPCA) Media Liaison Manager Jaco Pieterse said the society had strict and regular financial audits by registered auditors.
“In terms of the SPCA Act, all funds paid over to an SPCA must be receipted. Such funds must be paid directly into the SPCA’s main bank account and all funds must be accounted for at all times. The SPCA is ultimately accountable for all funds received.” said Pieterse.
He urged donors to be vigilant when donating funds to any welfare organisation and to ensure they had the accurate, official bank account number that was registered in the name of the organisation, as well as to always insist on an official receipt.
“The NSPCA takes cases of theft seriously, especially when funds that are meant for the animals are taken unlawfully,” Pieterse said.
Police investigations continue.

Jade le Roux

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