Two former Fidelity Security guards who stole R2.8 million have been sentenced to nine years in prison. File Picture: Phil Magakoe

Limpopo - Two former security guards who stole R2.8 million in a month by pocketing money they were sent to collect from various businesses will be spending the next nine years in prison.

Tinyiko Thomas Maluleke, 41, and Rofhiwa Emmanuel Luvhimbi, 31, stole the money between December last year and January this year.

On Monday, the Makhado Magistrate’s Court sentenced the former Fidelity Security guards to nine years direct imprisonment after they pleaded guilty to charges of theft.

Limpopo Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said the guards had collected money from various places but instead of making deposits, they pocketed it.

He added that the incidents were reported by the guards’ manager after they failed to account for the missing money.

“An operation comprising the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Crime intelligence, the Makhado Task Team and the Thohoyandou Tactical Response Team were tasked to investigate the matter,” he said.

The two guards were arrested separately in January and police recovered about R2.7 million.

“The investigation team searched three different locations through an overnight operation and found banknotes buried in the convicts' yards, some of it stashed in ice-cream containers and refuse bags while underground,” Maluleke said.

“One of the suspects had already bought a double-cab vehicle and building materials which were later confiscated by the investigating team,” he added.

The Star