A professor accused of defrauding the University of Johannesburg of millions of rands has resigned and a new council chair appointed, the university said on Friday.
Professor Roy Marcus reportedly informed the council he had resigned as council chair in the interest of the university but did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Marcus, and deputy vice-chancellor for finance Jaco van Schoor, are accused of thieving at least R25 million from the university and channeling the funds into private businesses. This alleged fraud was said to have occurred over a period of three years.
UJ council has concluded that there is a prima facie case that the actions of Professor Marcus and Van Schoor contravened legal provisions and ethical obligations including those contained in the UJ Statute. The council has accepted Marcus's resignation with immediate effect.Herman Esterhuizen, UJ Media Liaison
The council, additionally, had resolved to institute disciplinary processes against Van Schoor who has been served with a charge sheet.
"The council has resolved to take all necessary steps to recover financial loses suffered by way of civil proceedings and will be instructing the University's attorneys to investigate whether there is also a basis for laying criminal charges against any persons implicated by the forensic investigations. The university will consider reporting misconduct to relevant professional and other bodies," Esterhuizen said.
According to a Sunday Independent report in July, Marcus and Van Schoor allegedly pushed funds from a solar project into the Innovative Investment Corporation (IIC), a Sandton-based company in which they hold shared. According to Who's Who, this company led by Marcus focuses on commercialising opportunities in the food, energy and water sectors, News24 reported.
The UJ council said it is "committed to ensuring ethical governance and will be informing the Minister of Higher Education and Training of steps taken following receipt of the report".
The new chair of council, Mike Teke, has now been formally elected in Marcus' place. Teke is also the CEO of Optimum Coal .