Pretoria - Two men accused of defrauding the labour department's compensation fund of R2.1 million failed to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
A warrant of arrest was issued for Maxwell Ramaphosa and Samuel Mfeleng, both former department employees, department spokesman Page Boikanyo said.
“The State is left with no option but to issue the accused with a warrant of arrest,” Magistrate Fikile Ntlati told the court, according to Boikanyo.
Lawyers representing Ramaphosa and Mfeleng said they had been trying before the court appearance to get hold of their clients but they did not answer their phones.
Ramaphosa and Mfeleng were arrested in 2009 and face 15 counts of fraud and 26 counts of money laundering. They pleaded not guilty and were granted R3000 bail each.
They were allegedly part of a syndicate working in collaboration with convicted fraudster Jurry Bonewamang Sehunoe, to siphon money out of the department's compensation fund. The fund provides compensation for workers who fall ill or are injured while doing their jobs.
Sehunoe pleaded guilty to defrauding the department and was subsequently handed a five-year suspended sentence in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court in 2010.
Ramaphosa's and Mfeleng's case was transferred to the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. The two are involved in two other fraud cases before the same court.
In one case, Ramaphosa, Mfeleng, and four other former department employees allegedly defrauded the department's labour fund of about R1m.
In a separate case, Ramaphosa and Mfeleng, another former employee, and physiotherapist Jones Mothemola Modau, confessed to defrauding the department of R476 150.
Modau had subsequently been handed a five-year suspended sentence.