Justice & Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has ordered the closure of all the Master’s Offices around the country for today to facilitate the investigation under way by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), according to a Business Day report.

Lamola said 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 today and will reopen tomorrow.

The SIU conducted a search-and-seizure operation yesterday 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 inquiries 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.

Full Business Day report