Ronald Lamola. Picture: SOWETAN/MDUDUZI NDZINGI.
Ronald Lamola. Picture: SOWETAN/MDUDUZI NDZINGI.

Justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola has ordered  the closure of the all Master’s Offices around the country for a day on Tuesday to facilitate the investigation under way by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Lamola announced at a media briefing on Monday that the shutdown would allow the SIU to gather information relevant to its investigation into corruption, maladministration and fraud at all the Master’s Offices countrywide without any hindrance.

The offices will be closed all day Tuesday and will reopen  on Wednesday.

The SIU conducted a search-and-seizure operation on Monday of Master’s Offices across the country.

Lamola said the SIU investigation was prompted by several allegations of maladministration and corruption in particular by a case in Mpumalanga where an official in the Master’s Office allegedly amassed R1.7m through fraudulent activities.

The investigation will encompass maladministration in relation to  administration of estates of deceased and insolvent persons; the protection and administration of the funds of minors, contractually incapacitated and undetermined and absent heirs, which have been paid into the Guardian’s Fund; the supervision of the administration of companies and close corporations in liquidation; the safeguarding of all documentary material in respect of estates, insolvencies and liquidations; the processing of enquiries by executors, attorneys, beneficiaries and other interested parties; and the appointment of executors, trustees, curators and liquidators.

“We want a Master’s Office that will conduct its affairs with integrity and not squander resources meant for the poor and vulnerable in society,” Lamola said.

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