Minister suspends 9 officials implicated in fraud and corruption

Minister suspends 9 officials implicated in fraud and corruption

- The small business development minister has suspended several officials linked to corruption

- This follows reports of an extensive corruption network linked to the department's awarding of grants

- The graft allegations date from as far back as 2014

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Small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu has taken disciplinary action against several department officials who have been implicated in fraud and corruption.

In total, Zulu has suspended nine officials as a result of the allegations.

This comes after the portfolio committee on small business development found that many of the grants awarded to small businesses had no positive impact.

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It was discovered that a network of politically-connected individuals was fraudulently abusing the awarding of grants in order to enrich themselves, according to TimesLive.

Allegedly, officials from the department of trade and industry were collaborating with employees at the department of small business. These fraudulent activies have been going on since at least 2014.

As a result, the department's portfolio committee has recommended further investigation into these corruption networks, has gathered.

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In addition, the chairperson of the committee, Ruth Bhengu, praised Lindiwe Zulu's suspension of the implicated individuals. Bhengu stressed that corrupt government officials needed to be punished, and that criminal charges should be lain against them if evidence of wrongdoing emerged. 

Bhengu also described the social cost of this fraud and graft, saying that it diverted money to corrupt officials which was meant to uplift small business owners and stimulate the economy.

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