Bogus students and fraudsters on Friday appeared before the Gaborone Village Magistrate Court charged with six counts of fraud in which millions of pula are suspected to have been defrauded from the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoE).
The six accused, Olaotse Masisi, Mogotsi Tadubana, Kingston Mmolawa, Brinnel Stock, Biki Boiketlo Letsididi and Mogomosti Molatlhegi, claimed to be off campus students owed off campus allowances by the MoE and appeared before the Chief Magistrate, Barnabas Nyamadzabo.
The prosecuting officer from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Thabo Malambane, said that the number of suspects “might increase from six to ten but some are still at large while the investigating agency is following their where abouts”.
He added that the money that they defrauded the ministry may also increase.
Malambane told the court that since investigations are still ongoing, the suspects should not be released from custody lest they may temper with evidence and witnesses but added that some can apply for bail after fifteen days.
He added that the first accused person, Olaotse Masisi, an accountant officer at the Ministry of Education, played a key role in the commission of the crimes while the second accused person is allegedly a convict.
The MoE engaged the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime to help in rooting out bogus students who have been fraudulently receiving allowances.
The ministry says the re-registration exercise that they embarked on since last year is now paying dividends as they have already identified some of the culprits.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard, the MoE’s Public Relations Officer, Nomsa Zuze, said some of the students that they were sponsoring will be taken to court as well.
Meanwhile, the DCEC is investigating several cases of fraud and corruption at the MoE in which senior government officials are said to be implicated.