ICT Ministry Director who defrauds government exposed



BY : ZWELI MARTIN DLAMINI

MBABANE:Government has taken action after an intensive investigation by this publication exposed a senior official in the Ministry of ICT, who was benefiting huge amounts of taxpayer’s money in salaries for doing nothing.

Dr Rejoice Maseko, the Director of Science, Research, Technology and Innovation in the Ministry of ICT spent most of her time doing personal projects in South Africa thus defrauding the government of the Kingdom of eSwatini thousands of Emalangeni in salaries. The ICT boss has been defrauding government through what is known as "theft of the employer's time" whereby an employee tricked an employer to pay salaries without rendering services that justifies the payment. Theft of the employer’s time occurs when an employee accepts payment from the employer for the work that they have not actually done or for time that they have not actually put into their work. This then amounts to fraud and or misrepresentation in that the employee benefits without actually doing the necessary amount of work during their shift.

Preliminary findings of an independent investigations by this publication uncovered substantive evidence that the senior government official who heads a very crucial department in the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology was hardly in the country but spent time doing some work for one of the Universities in South Africa. On or around March 2019, after about three months of an intensive investigation, this publication contacted Maxwell Masuku, the Principal Secretary in the ICT Ministry who asked to be given time to monitor the Director before making an official comment. Last week, after this investigative journalist informed the PS that more evidence has been obtained substantiating that the senior government official was benefiting taxpayer’s money for doing nothing, Masuku confirmed the matter saying it was dealt with internally as per government policies. "True, however it is still an issue discussed with her with an objective of dealing with it administratively following Government policies and protocols. A second meeting was yesterday (Friday 10 May 2019) till 5pm. Once again, thanks for alerting me to this issue" said PS.

This Swaziland News Centre for Investigative, following a tip-off from insiders within government conducted an investigation and uncovered evidence dating back to 2018, proving that Dr Rejoice Maseko was frequenting the Republic of South Africa during her employers time and as such, benefits from public coffers without rendering services to the Nation.

Evidence in our possession suggests that she would from time to time, came back to the country to renew the authorized number of days she spent in South Africa as per the Immigration Laws of that country. During her brief stay in the country, Dr Rejoice would report to work at the ICT offices situated at the Inter-Ministerial Building in Mbabane before leaving South Africa driving Chevrolet with registration numbers DS 33 JK GP.

An investigation further uncovered that this year of 2019; she left the country on Thursday 03 January 2019 and returned on Friday 0 8 February 2019. The following day, Saturday 09 February 2019, Dr Rejoice left the country heading to Johannesburg in South Africa; she came back on the 3rd March 2019 and spent about two weeks in the country before departing on the 13th March 2019. The senior government official then spent two days in the country before leaving 15th March 2019, again her destination was Johannesburg, she returned on the23rd March 2019. Further information in our possession suggests that on the Friday the 10th May 2019, she entered the country, this was the day confirmed by the Principal Secretary that a meeting was held with her to discuss the matter. Insiders within government told this Swaziland News that actually, the senior government official would report to work for important assignments.

“Sometimes if she was expected to travel outside the country on national duties, the delegation would meet her at OR Tambo” said insider. When reached for comments, Dr Rejoice Maseko wondered who alerted this journalist with this information, saying this was one of the reasons the country was in a financial crisis because people involved themselves on matters that do not concern them. "Uyabona-ke Zweli kutsi yini lelewisa lomnotfo? Bantfu bahlalela kukhuluma tindzaba letingabafaki (I hope you now understand why the economy is in this mess, people involve themselves on issues that does not concern them") she said.

When asked to respond why she spend time in South Africa with allegations rife that she was working in one of the Universities in that country, the senior government official changed the topic. "Are you now back home from exile?, I'm glad you back so we can work together and revive the economy"

Honorable Phila Buthelezi, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when speaking to this Swaziland News Centre for Investigative Journalism described this as highly irregular and promised that as the PAC they would follow the matter. "This is highly irregular and we definitely need to follow it up" said the PAC Chairman who is the Deputy Speaker and Matsanjeni Member of Parliament.