NEWS
27/06/2018 07:59 SAST | Updated 27/06/2018 07:59 SAST

Khaya Sithole On Bursary Fraud: 'I Did Not Act Alone'

The accountant says the bursary fraud he is alleged to have committed was done in cahoots with bigwigs in the industry and his bosses at Wits.

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Commentator, accountant and former Wits senior lecturer Khaya Sithole has admitted to forging a signature to award bursaries to students, but says he did not do it alone and that his superiors knew what he was doing.

Sithole is facing a disciplinary hearing at the South Africa Institute for Chartered Accountants (Saica), for allegedly fabricating a letter from the project director of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund (TBF), of which he was programme director, to award bursaries to more than 100 students.

According to Times Select, Sithole confessed to parts of the allegations against him in an affidavit submitted this week during his disciplinary proceedings.

It is, however, not clear why Sithole did this, or what he hoped to achieve.

All he would say, according to Times Select, is that he did not do it alone.

Sithole reportedly said those who knew about his activities included Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib, and others.

"They individually and sometimes collectively conspired to put me under undue pressure to break the rules in order to accommodate their wishes and desires. During the course of 2014, 2015 and 2016, these individuals would ... in cahoots with each other, initiate the addition of irregular students on the programme in a manner that took advantage of the power they had to override and decisions made," he reportedly said.

Wits spokesperson Shiron Patel told Times Select that the university denied the allegations, and "reserves its right" to comment at a later stage or take legal action against Sithole.

According to Business Day, Sithole's hearing is among the first to be opened to the public as part of Saica's efforts to make the accounting profession more transparent.

It follows allegations against major auditing firms like KPMG for its work for the Gupta family, and the allegations against former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh. Singh also faces a Saica disciplinary hearing.

According to Fin24, Sithole has also alleged that Saica chairperson and Deloitte Africa CEO Lwazi Bam wanted him removed as a chartered accountant before the Saica AGM on June 26, as Sithole had written an open letter calling for the removal of the board.