Qhawe Sithole: CEO accused of looting yet to produce receipts to Ubuntu Wealth
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Johannesburg - Qhawe Sithole, the CEO of a wealth investment company who stands accused of looting alcohol and a washing machine, has yet to produce receipts after he was arrested in Durban last week, his company, Ubuntu Wealth Management, said on Monday.
Sithole was arrested by police last week when he was caught allegedly with the proceeds of looting, with a washing machine, alcohol and other items in his swanky Jeep Wrangler, which is valued from R749 000, according to the SMH Group. The disgraced chief executive, who has since been suspended by his company, has also been removed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) pending his suspension. He could be debarred, if convicted.
Repeated attempts to contact Sithole have failed as he does not answer his phone. He has also appointed an attorney who is understood to be spearheading his defence as part of an internal investigation and also with his criminal charges in a Durban court. He has also failed to furnish his lawyer’s contact details.
Sithole’s arrest on looting-related charges has sent shock waves in South Africa owing to his status as the chief executive of a wealth investment company and his proximity to privilege, having attended South Africa’s prestigious Hilton College. He also attended UCT, the University of the Free State and the London School of Economics.
He was released from police custody on Thursday after being arrested on Tuesday.
Sithole was one of thousands of people who were arrested in Gauteng and KZN for allegedly taking part in looting. Violence and destruction linked to the looting have caused damage worth billions of rand, with stock stolen and cars, trucks and key infrastructure burnt in some instances.
Speaking to IOL on Monday, Mmangaliso Nxumalo, who is the chief operations officer at Ubuntu Wealth Management, said Sithole's lawyers and the company had a “conversation” on Saturday and he confirmed that Sithole had yet to provide receipts which show his purchase of the items he allegedly looted. “Not to us, not yet,” he told IOL on Monday. “He says he will produce them through the lawyers. They will produce everything for us through the lawyers,” said Nxumalo.
IOL reported last week that Sithole had pleaded his innocence and had told his company that he had in fact purchased the suspected looted items after he purchased a new property in Glenashley, uMhlanga.
Nxumalo told IOL that Sithole had initially travelled to Durban two weeks ago. Asked why he had not produced the receipts yet, Nxumalo said: “I can't give an opinion because I do not know how these legal proceedings work. ... We do not want to be influenced by our own judgment on the whole thing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nxumalo said the company was in contact with the FSCA and was expected to make further submissions to the financial regulator on Monday. He would not disclose the nature of their submission.
Last week, the FSCA said: “Mr Sithole has been suspended by his company, Ubuntu Wealth Management. This means that he is no longer on our system as a representative of this FSP (financial service provider).
“The FSCA expects all regulated entities and their representatives to conduct themselves in a way that is in line with the fit and proper requirements of the authority.
“Any regulated entity and/or representative thereof that has been convicted of a crime may not operate as a financial service provider. In the case of such a conviction, Mr Sithole can be debarred by the FSCA,” said the authority.
“All South Africans should be concerned about these unfortunate events and the negative impact they have on our economy,” the FSCA said on the incidents of looting and violence last week.