EOH under fire over theft accusation
DURBAN - JSE-LISTED EOH Holdings has been linked to an alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of rand from a workers' investment benefit.
The company EOH was implicated through its subsidiary, EOH Employee Benefits, in the alleged theft of about R700 000, which belongs to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
Amcu described the transfer as theft and fraud. However, EOH said the transfer was a mistake. EOH chief risk officer Fatima Newman said the money “was erroneously transferred to a different account named Z AMCU Carel.
“We can further confirm that the full amount of the funds withdrawn from the original Amcu account have been transferred back into that account,” Newman said. “This matter is currently subject to a full internal investigation and as such EOH is not able to comment further at this time.”
Independent Media's Investigations Unit was alerted to the disappearance of the money from Amcu's account by a whistle-blower and confirmed by the union, which has since approached its lawyers to take action.
Rene Kyriakou, of LDA Attorneys Incorporated, confirmed the “illegal” transfer and said she was leading the
investigation. Kyriakou said it was still unclear how the money moved from Amcu's account but blamed EOH for the unauthorised transaction.
Last Friday Kyriakou served EOH with a letter of demand requesting the “immediate” return of money to the union.
Kyriakou said EOH told her office that the money would be refunded back to Amcu. She said she had also demanded more information about how the transaction was made, who
was behind it, and who this Z AMCU Carel was. The alleged fraud happened while Amcu was in the process of terminating its business relationship with EOH. Amcu gave EOH notice to cut ties with the group.
However, EOH requested an extension of the termination date.
EOH had been handling Amcu's funeral scheme and last year it had assisted the union to register and market its Igula Umbrella Provident Fund.
Kyriakou said: “It is apparently
during this notice (of termination) period that this alleged fraud and theft occurred.
“My instructions are that no fees are due or payable to EOH and that the funds were unlawfully withdrawn from our client's account without its knowledge and consent, and we want it back,” she said.
She said the union had not yet approached the police to press charges, however, the union had asked EOH to also conduct its own investigation into the matter.
“We are investigating who is responsible for the account, who signed the authorisation to transfer the funds from our client's account to that account without our client's knowledge,” Kyriakou said.
EOH recently appeared before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture where the group chief executive Stephen van Coller told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo how he had prioritised clean governance after he was appointed in 2018.
Van Coller engaged ENSafrica to do a forensic investigation into the impropriety allegations, EOH contracts with the City of Joburg, and with the National Prosecuting Authority.
He said the investigations revealed that a number of rogue and corrupt former employees and directors almost destroyed the entire group through tender fraud with state organisations such as the SA National Defence Force and the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Others who also allegedly received payments from EOH included former ANC Youth League treasurer-general Reggie Nkabinde (R500 000 loan), ANC's Luthuli House aide Siyabulela Gift Sintwa (R291 600) and deputy co-operative governance and traditional affairs Minister Parks Tau's wife Philisiwe Twala-Tau (R512 000 for a study-related trip to New York).