Suspects in court for alleged fraud worth over R5.9 million
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Three suspects are set to appear in the Bellville specialised commercial crimes court on Thursday for allegedly defrauding a group of companies of over R5.9 million.
The suspects aged between 40 and 46 are alleged to have committed the fraud between 2015 and 2017, provincial spokeswoman for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) Zinzi Hani said in a statement.
The trio faces 211 charges of fraud, theft, forgery and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act after allegedly siphoning funds from various companies under South African Fruit Exporters meant for workers’ compensation fund contributions.
The three are said to have approached the SAFE chief executive officer with documentation which suggested they would facilitate the payment of contributions owed to the compensation fund which provides a cushion for injured workers or those who get diagnosed with occupational diseases.
According to Hani, the SAFE CEO reported the matter to the Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation unit after he realised that the amount owed to the compensation fund was still outstanding. The trio were served with summons in May.
In a separate incident, a former expenditure accountant of the Berg River municipality stationed in Piketberg was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for theft of over R4.1 million.
Nicholas Clayton Cloete Scholtz, aged 33, was sentenced in the Bellville court after pleading guilty to the charges, Hani said.
She said Scholtz admitted to stealing the money from the municipality between May and July 2019. The court also declared him unfit to possess a firearm.