Rustenburg - Convicted businessman Karabo Phungula has been arrested for failing to appear in court on several occasions.
The Hawks arrested Phungula on March 13 after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on March 1.
“Phungula was found guilty and convicted by the same court (Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court) in October 2022 for illegal acquisition of personal and business data of many South Africans from data services firm Experian.
“The accused appeared in court on Monday, 13 March 2023 where he was remanded in custody for his next court appearance tomorrow, 16 March 2023, for enquiries and further sentencing,” said Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase.
The State charged that Phungula not only fraudulently obtained the data but also planned to sell it for more than R4 million.
According to a News24 report, in May 2020, Experian handed over the data of more than 23 million people and nearly 800 000 businesses to Phungula, who impersonated a businessman who was authorised to have the information.
Experian detected the breach on July 22, more than 50 days after the data had already been transferred.
News24 further reported that at his sentencing on February 14, he did not appear in court due to poor health.
On March 1, his lawyer was ill and did not appear in court. The court heard that he had informed his lawyer that he too would not be present at the trial.
As a result, Phungula’s bail of R3 000 was forfeited to the State. An arrest warrant was issued against him, but it was not carried out after he assured his lawyer he would attend the hearing on March 6.
However, Phungula was absent again, citing his child’s poor health. This prompted the court to order Phungula’s immediate arrest.