PDAT manager in looting scandal

Palapye Development Advisory Trust offices PIC: KOKETSO KGOBOGE
Palapye Development Advisory Trust offices PIC: KOKETSO KGOBOGE

Recent findings on the alleged mismanagement of funds and theft that has haunted Palapye Development Advisory Trust (PDAT) over the years have fingered the trust’s Finance and Administration manager Emma Ncube as the chief instigator.

The trust, which is a major community development trust in Palapye, has for some time been rocked with allegations of corruption, mismanagement, embezzlement and theft of assets.

This has in the process set members of the Palapye community on a collision course with the former management and the Board of the Trust. While the sister publication reported this week that one worker has been suspended at the trust, fresh findings from the investigations, which were initiated by the newly appointed chief executive officer, have revealed that Ncube could be the main culprit in the alleged looting from the trust. According to documents seen by Mmegi, a panel which was set up to investigate the alleged looting at the trust, has slapped Ncube with several charges, which include fraud, theft and negligence.

Among the charges that Ncube has been slapped with and found guilty on include her failure to collect rental revenue from tenants. It is said that , "the accused treated this serious matter lightly that all she knew is that Jacinth and PDAT rentals are up to date." “This is in spite of the fact that the sum of P271,008.10 is outstanding as arrears and there is a clear indication of records that rentals had not been collected from one tenant since January 2020 to date. It is wrong to fund other companies’ working capital by way of not collecting rental due from them while PDAT lacks working capital,” reads the documents.

On another count, she is charged with “habitual or wilful neglect of duties contrary to section 26 of the Employment Act. It is said that the accused failed to submit Jacinth Holdings (Pty) Ltd, monthly PAYE returns and remittance of cash due to BURS. It has been found that statements of PAYE withholding tax for Jacinth Holdings obtained from BURS dated 21/10/2021 indicate that remittance and submission of returns were not prepared." According to the panel, this is wilful neglect of duties contrary to section 26 clause (4) C of the Employment Act chapter 47:01.

To that effect, the panel concluded that the accused is guilty as charged as her actions have tinted the name of the organisation and resulted in the organisation being on debts at BURS. Ncube has also been charged with act of theft, misappropriation or wilful dishonesty against the employer. She is accused of embezzling P58,104.69 which has to be remitted to BURS.

On another count, she has been ordered to repay to the trust over P23,000, which is money she misappropriated by unlawfully contracting Bin & Onk Consulting Agency to prepare financial statements and financial projections while such deliverables are the in-house task and responsibilities of her office. It is said that she did that without obtaining authority from her supervisors. She is also accused of defrauding the trust of over P38,000 in unjustifiable, questionable and unauthorised overtime claims from January 2020 to September 2021. She has also been ordered to pay back the money.

The panel said Ncube has betrayed the trust bestowed upon her by the Trust. “Ms Ncube acted in negligent and some instances stole by servant from PDAT. She could not disproof the evidence led by the investigation to that act,” reads part of findings. The panel is of the view that Ncube used her position to steal from the trust. “Ms Ncube is employed at the highest office of PDAT as the Finance and Administration Manager. She has authority over the finances of PDAT and she also had the opportunity to defraud the organisation.

She took that opportunity and used her privileged position and stole monies as the investigations reveal. She failed to be exemplary to staff members by acting professionally.” It is said that she admitted through a letter dated October 19, 2021 that she knew she had messed up but it was not intentional. However, the panel is of the view that the stealing was intentional as it was consistent and was done by a smooth con artist who is able to cover up her tracks. The panel also found and concluded that Ncube had a field day at PDAT as the privileged position she held availed the opportunity for her to defraud and steal by servant. The panel has strongly recommended that the Trust do everything in its power to recover these monies and that Ncube be summarily dismissed from her employment with immediate effect.

when contacted for comment, Ncube denied the charges against her. She stated that she has been wrongfully accused by the trust. She said as far as she is concerned, she should be credited for setting up and improving the trust's administration office rather than being accused of all sorts of crimes.

"I still have an issue with the trust because i am being punished for something i didn't do. The issue is i'm told i should have deducted money from the person who allegedly lost the trust's money. All these things happened while i was away on a trip and the matter was reported to the police," said Ncube.

Ncube also denied that she is on suspension but said she has instituted legal proceedings against the trust.

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