Employee fraud and prevention strategies at universities in KwaZulu-Natal.
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The results of continuing global research, including this study, have found that employee fraud is ubiquitous. An analysis of the crime statistics relating to fraud in South Africa reflects a similar picture. This study delved into employee fraud at universities in KwaZulu-Natal by evaluating the nature and causes of this phenomenon as well as the preventative measures that are, or should be, implemented to obviate the risk of fraud at universities. The study of fraud and corruption at universities in KwaZulu-Natal represents a microcosm of such crimes at national and international universities. The objectives of this study were to gain knowledge and understanding of the causes and nature of employee fraud and to establish other measures that could prevent fraud as well as to propose a conceptual model and recommendations which universities could use to prevent fraud. In order to achieve these objectives, the study included an extensive review of recent and relevant literature, an empirical survey, review of case files and interviews with knowledgeable individuals in the field of fraud risk management. In addition, the study provides an overview of historical and philosophical origins of the theoretical concepts and frameworks and models relating to employee fraud, fraud risk management, internal controls and governance of fraud risks. Results indicate that employee fraud is considered a risk to the sustainability of higher education, vis-à-vis the provision of tertiary education to the community. A conceptual model is proposed to address employee fraud at universities. The conceptual input/output transformational systems model adapted from Easton (A systems analysis of political life (1979)) was utilised as a sophisticated addition to the set of recommendations provided in the last chapter. Despite its particular shortcomings, this model would be useful as a concept clarifier to those entrusted with designing and implementing policy at universities destined to elevate the fraud prevention process. The conceptual model advocates a holistic approach to prevent fraud. In responding to stakeholder demands to combat fraud, universities should implement specific policies that would transform any such dysfunctionalities within its operations to enable it to achieve its predetermined educational goals. Supplementary to the adapted input/output transformational systems model for prevention of fraud and corruption at universities in KwaZulu-Natal, a set of recommendations is proposed that is intended to provide policy-makers with information about the inputs from the environments that impact the achievement of goals and that proposes a conversion mechanism which could support achieving, maintaining and enhancing of predetermined goals. The prevention of employee fraud would be beneficial to all stakeholders, such as the community, government and universities, nationally and internationally.