Seven to appear over Absa theft

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Absa Gallo Images Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images.

Seven people arrested in connection with R4 million stolen from 17 Absa ATMs were expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court on Friday, Mpumalanga police said.

Among those arrested was a man employed as a custodian at the bank, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said on Thursday.

"He [allegedly] colluded with the bank's contracted cleaner... to steal from the bank by flouting the prescripts and regulations of the bank for loading money into the ATMs," said Mohlala.

Bank management became suspicious when most of the ATMs in Nelspruit's central business district ran out of money on March 29 and the custodian did not report for work that day.

The bank's investigations showed that the custodian had accessed ATMs he was not supposed to on March 27 and 28.

He had also changed the access code combinations to those ATMs.

CCTV footage also showed the cleaner and the custodian walking out of an ATM loading area with a bag full of cash.

The pair was arrested at the Mhluzi mall in Nelspruit on Tuesday.

A total of R121 000 was recovered from them.

"The suspects were interviewed and they led the police to five [alleged] accomplices aged between 28 and 34, who were arrested overnight at Pienaar, Masoyi, and Kabokweni near Nelspruit," Mohlala said.

One was a bank administrator, others close friends and relatives, and a traditional healer who the custodian and cleaner paid to give them muti so that they could evade arrest.

"Over R3 million was recovered during the arrests," said Mohlala.

R800 000 had been loaned to a credible businessman who did not know the money had been stolen.

"As part of the investigation, arrangements have been made for him to give the money back to Absa," said Mohlala.


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