Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Darren Olivier

Some progress in CIPRO fraud pandemic

Two recent reports reveal that "investigators are trying to link three men arrested for stealing more than R80 million (+-$10.4 million) to the fraud pandemic at CIPRO". According to yesterday's The Star the three men "were arrested on the weekend". There is a also a report that the suspected "kingpin" was arrested in June, denied bail in August and is due back in Court in December. Thanks to Maria Mcgibbon (Bowman Gilfillan) for The Star report.

The significance of "Ciprogate" is such that new finance minister Pravin Gordin was tested by Marius Swart of the Democratic Alliance who asked in a written parliamentary question what amount of money Sars (revenue service) lost in cases where employees of Cipro duplicated companies on the database in the 2008/09 financial year. "These cases reveal that Sars has lost a total of R50 949 743.80 in income tax refund fraud as a result of duplicate companies registered at Cipro," he said. The companies were SBC International Management Services (R31 600 946.89 lost) and Sun Microsystems (R19 348 796.91 lost)." IOL News

Despite the progress in catching the perpetrators (for which Cipro and the authorities should be congratulated), Afro Leo received a report from an attorney who, for the past three weeks, has been trying (without success) to set up a meeting with Registrar of Companies and Close Corporations to try to agree a way in which orders for changes to obvious company and close corporation name duplications can be made without trade mark owners having to incur the cost of filing formal objections. The attorney's explanation to the unfortunate client (now faced with incurring three objection costs) is as follows:

"We called the Cipro general number and made a report on the Cipro fraud report line (which promises a response within 48 hours). We received no response from the fraud report line. The operator on the general number referred us to the Cipro legal department. We called the legal department and left messages, to no avail. We finally made contact but the person who answered the call referred us to someone else and we emailed him. No Joy. We have also written to various other people at CIPRO and have had no joy. These efforts have taken place since our call with you [the client] on 7 October."

Are trade mark owners expected to incur the cost of formal objections (which may be to the High Court) where fraud has occurred? This blog has encouraged trade mark owners to assist Cipro by setting up watches to check the registers against their trade marks. Trade mark owners are responding - some guidance from Cipro would be appreciated.

  • For previous reports on Ciprogate click here.
  • On how to escape handcuffs click here and an early attempt to improve handcuffs.

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

Subscribe via email (you'll be added to our Google Group)


Write comments
28 October 2009 at 12:11 delete

I have now received a response from CIPRO and they have agreed to set up a meeting to discuss the issue. Thanks CIPRO and AFRO-IP!