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ActionSA writes to Financial Sector Conduct Authority to clarify Thabo Bester’s bank account(s)

Thabo Bester appears remotely in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court

Thabo Bester appears remotely in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court

Published May 24, 2023


Johannesburg – ActionSA says it has written to Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) commissioner Unathi Kamlana in its bid to get to the bottom of Thabo Bester’s banking activities.

This comes a week after the convicted Facebook rapist and convicted criminal was seen wearing an expensive top that is said to have cost at least R18 000. Bester, who is currently being held at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria, appeared briefly in a virtual appearance where his case was postponed to June 20.

According to media reports, Bester, also known as TK, TK Nkwana, or Motsepe, is alleged to have had access to his laptop and other amenities while he was serving jail time at the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

In May 2022, he staged an escape allegedly with the help of at least five G4S employees, who are currently appearing before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court for their bail application today.

ActionSA said its request for clarity is due to the conflicting stories relating to Bester and his bank account, which seems to have been opened and operational despite the fact that he only recently obtained a valid identity document (ID).

This comes after reports that Bester had his bank account frozen after investigations into his escape.

This week, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi issued Bester with his first ID document in spite of evidence suggesting that he has had bank accounts for a long time and despite the fact that he only received his ID on May 17, 2023.

“It is unclear whether this was Thabo’s first issuance of an ID document or whether he had one at some point in the past. Nevertheless, the FSCA must provide clarity about the status of Thabo’s finances and whether or not there is a violation of lawful financial practices that would have allowed him to bankroll his original escape,” Patricia Kopane, Free State chairperson of ActionSA, said on Wednesday.

Kopane said that according to Section 29 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (Fica), which requires institutions to report all suspicious financial activities, the announcement made by Motsoaledi brought into question how his bank verified the client in order to open a bank account that reportedly had a balance of R872 million while the requisite Fica documents were not furnished.

“ActionSA would like to get clarity on this seemingly brazen violation of Fica, specifically the ‘Know Your Client’ requirements, by a major corporate in South Africa. Furthermore, we would like to know whether actions would be taken to get clarity on how this financial institution rubber-stamped the opening of a bank account by Mr Bester in what appears to be a contravention of Fica regulations,” she said.

The Star