Acquittals, but fraud accused not off the hook

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IOL news oct 5 gavel_sep 4 Independent Newspapers .

Durban - The insurance scam trio who are facing 49 charges of racketeering, murder and fraud were acquitted of seven counts of fraud in the Durban High Court yesterday.

The acquittals, which were handed down by Judge Fikile Mokgohloa, elicited no reaction from the accused, MaryAnn Dimba, Sibusiso Buthelezi and Linda Mdluli, as the judge had already pointed out there were “proven facts” which implicate them in the other fraud counts and murder charges.

She said the three had to be acquitted on the seven counts as there was no evidence to implicate any of them in the charges.

Judge Mokgohloa is expected to complete the marathon judgment by Friday. The judgment is lengthy as the State had relied largely on circumstantial evidence, including cellphone records and insurance documents to prove its case.

In the indictment, the State alleged that the accused had gained access to people’s identity documents and had taken out insurance policies using their details, but had named themselves as the beneficiaries. They then allegedly picked up people, killed them and identified the bodies as those of the deceased policy-holders and claimed from the insurance companies.

In her judgment on Tuesday, Judge Mokgohloa said while some insurance companies did not pay out the claims because they were suspicious, others, including Old Mutual and First National Bank, were defrauded.

The judge said the majority of the evidence in the case implicated Dimba as her cellphone number was found on policies and on affidavits used to identify the deceased.

The judgment continues on Wednesday.

The Mercury

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