An information technology (IT) programmer at the Accountant General’s Department is in police custody for allegedly swindling about K100 million from the government through the creation of fake pension accounts.
The development comes at a time when the government has revamped the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis) after a lapse in the system resulted in the theft of K24 billion dubbed as Cashgate between April and September, 2013.
Fiscal Police on Monday arrested and questioned the IT programmer, identified as Lovemore Mthunzi, and have since charged him with theft by a public servant and money laundering.
While the offense of theft by a public servant carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, the money laundering charge tested recently in the Cashgate cases carries a maximum custodial sentence of life in imprisonment.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera yesterday confirmed that the scam was discovered in a joint operation between Fiscal Police and the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA).
He said: “I can confirm that the individual has been arrested on suspicion that he created fake pension accounts into which he was depositing cheques from the government. He is still being investigated and once that is concluded, he will be charged.”
Incidences of pension and salary scams are not new in the civil service as the government recently fired about 68 civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development who stole about K165 million by bloating salaries and allowances or claiming arrears which were unclaimed.
Former senior accountants from the Accountant General, including former Accountant General David Kandoje, are facing various charges pertaining to Cashgate for authorising cheque payments amounting to K2.4 billion for work and services not delivered.