R50m donor funds fraud case involving 7 SA-based CDC staffers postponed
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Cape Town - A case in which seven people and five entities are charged with corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering in connection with R50 million worth of donor funds received from the South African branch of the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has been postponed to October 8.
The seven people include Dr Alfred Bere, a virologist, who was Prevention Branch Chief at the CDC’s South African branch.
As part of its international outreach, CDC (US), a federal agency of the American government, makes donations to entities to provide health-care services and Bere was responsible for identifying and liaising with the South African beneficiaries of the donor monies.
Bere was arrested in 2018 at the Beitbridge border post while allegedly on his way to neighbouring Zimbabwe, following the issuance of an arrest warrant for him.
At the time the Hawks said the money in question had been donated to be redistributed to deserving non-profits to fight the spread of diseases by providing health-care services to key groups and individuals.
One such non-profit was TB/HIV Care, which was then coerced to take on a separate non-profit called the Sactwu worker health programme (SWHP) as a subsidiary.
Bere is alleged to have conspired with the second accused, former SWHP chief executive Colleen Khumalo, to misappropriate the donor funds. Khumalo’s agency was tasked with managing donations received on behalf of Sactwu.
The third accused is Karthigasen Padayachee, a businessman associated with three of the business entities involved in the case. The fourth and fifth accused, Kharthigasin and Travalyn Govender, are a married couple involved with another of the businesses in the case.
The sixth and seventh accused Sandile Gwamanda and Yvonne Gwamanda, respectively, are directors of another firm linked to the case.