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Statement from Wits University

- Wits University

Former senior manager arrested in the US for alleged money laundering.

A former senior manager from the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI) has been arrested in the United States following allegations of the misappropriation of funds involving approximately USD 230,000.

Audit, investigation and criminal charges

The alleged irregularities were originally identified by the WRHI who embarked on a full investigation. The person was questioned and he immediately resigned from his position. His laptop was seized and a forensic audit was immediately commissioned.

USAID was immediately informed and the WRHI appointed KPMG to conduct a forensic audit. The WRHI, USAID, KPMG and the Office of the Inspector General in the US cooperated throughout the investigation.

A criminal case has also been opened with the South African Police Services.

Donor funds remain safe

The University and its associated entities will not tolerate the misuse of donor and/or grant funds. The University’s strong systems, quick action and cooperation with partners ensured that these alleged fraudulent activities were identified, managed and pursued quickly. 

It is estimated that the total funds allegedly misappropriated amounts to USD 230,000, the bulk of which will be covered by insurance. The project will not suffer any reduction in funding and there will be no direct loss to USAID.

As a precautionary measure, the WHC and the WRHI have undertaken a comprehensive review of all grants and activities and no other irregularities have been identified.

Next steps

Wits entities will continue to work with all relevant parties to finalise the matter. The management of this case demonstrates that the University will deal decisively with any illegal activity, including fraud.

Wits remains a leading research-intensive university on the African continent with significant support from corporates, individual donors, trusts and foundations for over 95 years. The Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute remains one of the leading research institutes in its field in the world producing important work that saves and betters the lives of millions every day.