KZN education administrator jailed for multi-million rand cybercrime scam

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Jun 26, 2019

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Durban - A former KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education payroll administrator in Ulundi and seven others were jailed on Monday, for fraud in relation to targetting the bank account of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (NMMM). 

The eight  formed a "highly sophisticated" organised criminal group specialised in cybercrime police say.  

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi a spokesperson for the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) -Hawks  said they conspired and committed fraud at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (NMMM) by targeting its bank account.

He said that in 2009 the syndicate purchased a computer software, which is designed to record keystrokes and e-mail addresses. 

“The syndicate managed to record important keystrokes which was used to capture, verify and release unauthorized payments from this account into the specified beneficiary accounts. The beneficiary accounts were sourced by the syndicate and accessed in order to access the funds received into these accounts,”Mulaudzi explained.

He said that in August 2009 the syndicate released unauthorised payments, in the amount of R19 million from the municipality account.  

He said the municipality managed to pick the abnormality and contacted the bank which managed to freeze some of the accounts. 

“Despite the almost the quick action, more than R1.7 million was already stolen,”Mulaudzi said.

The gang activities was reported to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation who managed to get convictions against all the suspects.

Khayalethu Cladius Ngqondi (59) former Deputy Director of Salary Section at NMBM, Sipho Msomi (47), Mandisi Busakwe (39) former payroll administrator at NMBM, Mduduzi Maxwell Mkhize (44) former payroll administrator at the Department of Education in Ulundi, Phumla Ntozini (61), Lungisa Kosi (44), Nokhuthula Magubane Kholeka (47) and Edith Ngqondi (55) and were each sentenced between ten and fifteen years imprisonment.

The National Head of the DPCI Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has applauded the teams integral role to crack the syndicates’ in a complex, large scale operation which facilitated its criminal activity.

"The case may have been on the court roll for six years since 2013 but the outcome is welcomed. The efforts by law enforcement officers, prosecutors and the courts in meting out justice is appreciated It will send a message to other potential fraudsters that crime does not pay,” said Lebeya.

Daily News

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