Durban - A Chatsworth mother who defrauded former Springbok flanker and Sharks captain Wayne Fyvie of R1.4 million was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

Ambiga Naidu, 53, who worked as a creditors clerk at Fyvie’s Pinetown company – Green Office – said she used the money for household expenses such as groceries, repairs and home improvements, and had also given money to her two adult sons.

The Bayview woman, who pleaded guilty in the Pinetown Regional Court, said she began defrauding the company a month after starting work there in July 2008.

She resigned in February 2011.

According to a written plea Naidu made in October, she had pretended that amounts of money – R1.4m in total – were owed every month to suppliers for work done and for materials.

“In truth, the suppliers were falsely created by me and no money was due to these suppliers. The money was actually paid into my bank account for my benefit,” she said.

“I continued to work for Green Office and defrauded them until Michael Brown, the accounts manager, raised certain suspicions about my conduct and about the money which could not be accounted for.”

Naidu said she became afraid and decided not to return to work because she knew she was guilty of defrauding her employer.

She was arrested three months after she resigned.

Naidu admitted knowing her actions were wrong and unlawful and that she had no defence to the charge of fraud against her.

“On three separate occasions I incurred expenses by paying towards my sons’s drug rehabilitation programme,” she said.

According to a probation officer’s report provided for sentencing, Naidu said she had committed the offence because of financial problems and to assist her eldest son who was a drug addict.

It stated she had been given a chance to reimburse Fyvie, but she had failed to honour the arrangement.

The report had recommended a term of imprisonment.

A report from the Department of Correctional Services had asked the court to consider correctional supervision as a sentencing option.

However, magistrate K Chamberlain sentenced Naidu to eight years’ imprisonment.

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