Nomsa Masuku

Nomsa Masuku. Image: SABC News

IEC responds after commissioner Nomsa Masuku arrested on fraud charges

Earlier on Friday, Nomsa Masuku was arrested by the Hawks over fraud and theft charges emanating from her time at Standard Bank.

Nomsa Masuku

Nomsa Masuku. Image: SABC News

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has taken a sit-back-and-wait approach after its commissioner, Nomsa Masuku, was arrested on Friday morning over charges of theft, fraud and money laundering.

Nomsa Masuku didn’t steal from us, says IEC

In a statement, the IEC said it was aware of the arrest and would “monitor developments in the matter”.

“It appears that the matter relates to her erstwhile employment and does not relate to her tenure in the Commission both as an employee and commissioner,” the electoral body said.

The IEC’s statement comes after Masuku was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit on Friday over fraud that was allegedly committed when she was working for Standard Bank as the head of the corporate social investment (CSI) programme.

“It is reported that the ex-employee was the head of the CSI programme for the ‘Adopt A School Trust’, which was established to provide scholarships, bursaries and awards of study, researching or teaching, to learners from schools adopted by Standard Bank’s ‘Adopt-a-School’ programme,” Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said.

Bursaries for friends and family

The Hawks allege that the 62-year-old commissioner abused her position and gave bursaries to her relatives.

“The Hawks investigators established that the incumbent flouted the processes of the trust by awarding scholarships to friends and family members through manipulation of documents and without the approval of the committee,” Mogale said.

Hawks also allege that R1.2 million of Standard Bank’s money landed in her personal bank account.

After her arrest, Masuku appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, where she was granted R20 000 bail.

“She was ordered to surrender both her passports [personal and official] to the investigating officer [IO] and inform the IO should she need to travel,” Mogale told The South African.

She is due back in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on 4 September.

Speaking to the SABC News after Masuku’s court appearance, Mogale said the Hawks were alerted after Standard Bank conducted an internal investigation and found the alleged instances of criminality.

IEC tenure

She is currently one of five IEC commissioners, alongside Mosotho Moepya, Janet Love, Glen Mashinini and Dhaya Pillay, and her biography on the electoral commission’s website mentions her time spent at the bank.

“Dr Masuku’s career at the Electoral Commission took a seven-year hiatus during which she worked in the private sector. She spent those years as Standard Bank’s head of Corporate Social Investment,” the bio reads.