Five suspects have appeared in court for allegedly conspiring to defraud the Eastern Province Rugby Union. Three of its employees are among the suspects. File picture.
Five suspects have appeared in court for allegedly conspiring to defraud the Eastern Province Rugby Union. Three of its employees are among the suspects. File picture.

Three rugby union employees face charges for committing fraud worth nearly R500k

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Feb 11, 2021

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The group was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team on Wednesday.

Cape Town - Five suspects have appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s court for allegedly attempting to defraud the Eastern Province Rugby Union.

In a statement released by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) late on Wednesday, provincial spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said three of the suspects were rugby union employees.

The group was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team on Wednesday.

Mogale said the group was alleged to have conspired to defraud the rugby union by submitting two fraudulent invoices to the value of R475 000 for payments and services that were never rendered to the union.

“John Scheepers, 42, Eldridge Februarie, 48, and Bantwini Matika, 51, were employees in the union whilst Johny Oersen, 37, and Xoliswa Mbengu, 48, were the alleged clients who submitted fictitious invoices for the work that was never rendered,” Mogale said.

She said a preliminary investigation by the Hawks revealed that one of the invoices was a claim for sports fields in Cradock, and the other for catering services for games that never took place.

“Various irregularities on the invoices were picked up upon scrutiny as there were no supporting documents submitted with these invoices, which dated back in December 2019,” Mogale said.

She said the Hawks Eastern Cape provincial head, Major- General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya, commended the team for a job well done and said corruption was a scourge in society that needed to be rooted out.

The suspects are expected back in court on March 8.

The Hawks are an elite crime-fighting unit targeting organised crime, economic crime, corruption and other serious crime referred to them by the president or the South African Police Service (SAPS).

African News Agency (ANA)

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