Intellectual property registration office responds to employees guilty of fraud
At a press conference hosted in Johannesburg today Keith Sendwe, Chief Executive Officer of the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) announced that a number of CIPRO employees had been suspended pending the outcome of a complete fraud investigation.
He added that a number of cases had also been opened with the South African Police Services (SAPS) against individuals who falsely claimed to be “agents of CIPRO” in order to commit fraud.
To date the investigation has revealed that the fraudsters falsely claimed associations with entities that were registered on CIPRO’s database in order to clone legitimate businesses for financial gain. “Within CIPRO we have zero tolerance when it comes to fraud. An internal fraud investigation, which commenced in January this year, has resulted in a number of changes and the general tightening up of procedures in order to combat fraud. The ‘cloning scam’ was only recently uncovered and a special, multi-disciplinary task team has since been appointed by the management of CIPRO, in order to conduct a full investigation into the extent of the problem. Our aim is to bring those responsible for this crime to book and to put a watertight action plan in place to prevent any future reoccurrence of this heinous crime,” says Sendwe.
We would like to assure business owners that CIPRO is doing everything within its power to safeguard registered entities against fraud. “We are convinced that the new systems that we have put in place will go a long way in assisting us with the eradication of fraud. It is both inconceivable and unacceptable that this could have happened. We wish to provide our clients with the assurance that we have done everything within our means to block possible avenues that could be exploited in order to commit crimes of this nature.”