A while back we got called in by a prominent gold mine in the Gauteng area. Their records indicated that some of their diesel stock went missing on a regular basis. But a loss of diesel wasn’t their only concern as it turned out – thanks to a careful ear.
The problem: identifying possible suspects
In cases like these there’s always a police report and one or two suspects to indicate foul play. But there wasn’t. The only records to indicate that something wasn’t quite right were those kept by the gold mine.
As such, the strategic approach was simple: run polygraph tests on the individuals charged with management of the stock, and work our way down the ranks. As a result a security manager and two supervisors were up first.
A slip of the tongue
To avoid a lengthy disposition of our interviews and examinations with the security manager and the first of the two supervisors, we’ll simply state that they came out clean. Their innocence was proved and they were discounted from the case.
Now, as you may have concluded from our previous posts, a polygraph test is essentially run in two phases. The first is a general interview, which is where the examiner (or, formally, ‘polygraphist’) discusses the examination and any case-relevant details with the examinee. The second phase is the polygraph test itself.
It was during the interview phase with the second supervisor where matters took a turn for the rather unexpected. The interviewed strayed from the missing diesel to matters of general honesty. And, in that casual exchange of words, the supervisor mentioned that he had refused bribes from illegal miners in the area “most of the time”.
Not every time? Interesting.
The result: what management didn’t know
Without revealing or hinting at the self-incriminating slip the second supervisor had just committed, our polygraphist continued with the interview and the subsequent polygraph examination.
As it turns out, there was a group of illegal miners who have taken over the area, and that they were collecting “rent” money from the smaller illegal miners – not unlike the mafia in TV shows. These “bosses”, as they are called in the area, then bribe the mine’s security personnel for entry into the mine, and provide a list of “paid up” illegal miners who should allowed access to mine.
The supervisor in question confessed to all of the above during the polygraph examination. And, where the two employees before him were exonerated from any involvement relating to the missing diesel stock, polygraph results indicated that he had a part to play in this too.