Johannesburg - A second man appeared in the Commercial Crimes Court in Palm Ridge last week after Cell C opened criminal charges against various individuals and companies that allegedly fraudulently overcharged it for services.
Adriaan Pillay, previously employed by Cell C, was arrested on February 5 and his case has been postponed to April 14. Mohamed Adamjee, a former executive at Cell C, will stand in the dock next to Pillay in April. They are accused of defrauding Cell C out of more than R100 million.
In documentation that The Star has seen, Pillay and Adamjee are accused of conspiring with other individuals to overcharge Cell C and then split overpayments between them. Two other individuals who at the time ran a company called Cornastone, owned by the JSE-listed entity EOH, are alleged to be part of the fraud and are due to be arrested soon.
“Cell C placed orders for goods with Cornastone. Inflated quotes were then accepted by Adamjee on behalf of Cell C, payment would be made by Cell C to Cornastone and from there the excess money was channelled to various beneficiaries, including Adamjee and Pillay. We have traced all the payments,” a detective at the Hawks told The Star.
Cell C chief executive Douglas Craigie Stevenson told The Star that investigations within Cell C were ongoing and that he would leave no stone unturned to bring those who had defrauded Cell C to book.
“I only have good things to say about the interaction we have had with the police and the prosecution. We have 12.5 million customers and very supportive shareholders that need to see how we deal with fraud,” he said.
JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms, the largest shareholder in Cell C, had a rampant 20% increase in their share price in the last month only.
BDK Attorneys, the lawyers representing Cell C, performed a raid on the residences of Adamjee and Pillay prior to their arrests and recovered a lot of evidence. The raids were sanctioned and approved by the high court.
A whistle-blower with knowledge of all the transactions that Cornastone had been involved in told The Star that this was the tip of the iceberg and that money flows, if properly analysed by SAPS, were bound to link various individuals and companies to major fraud committed not only against Cell C but other mobile networks as well.
“That is exactly what we are busy with and the NPA is with us every step of the way,” one of the detectives at the Hawks told The Star.