Fraud News 2009


January 2009

February 2009

 Fraud News from Africa: February 2009

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Diamonds aren't forever


About 1 400 foreign investors, mostly of Orthodox Jewish persuasion, have been left holding the can after R740-million they invested in South African and Namibian diamond mines went astray in the hands of high-flying Pretoria businessman Michael van der Merwe and his Pure Africa Mining (PAM) group of companies.


Hospital staff in criminal probe


At least 10 of Mahatma Gandhi Hospital's most "influential" staff face suspension - with immediate effect - following a two-year investigation into various criminal activities.




I’m ready to rock and roll, Selebi tells NPA


Suspended national police commissioner Jackie Selebi says he is ready to go to trial following the Johannesburg high court ruling on Friday compelling the Scorpions to give him all documents pertaining to his case.


Police appeal to victims of alleged fraudster


Police are appealing to people who were scammed by alleged fraudster, Busisiwe Zakwe, 49, to come forward with information that may help speed up the investigation.

The request comes after more than four years of investigation, as police battle to find 26 victims "most of whom are pensioners" who are needed to testify in court.




Traffic bosses face charges in licence fraud scandal


THE Nelson Mandela Bay traffic department has been rocked by allegations of wide-spread fraud and corruption at a senior level.


‘Inventor‘ Lubbe finally appears in court on R30m fraud charges


SHAMED Bay inventor Gervan Lubbe managed to show up at the Port Elizabeth commercial crimes court yesterday after failing to appear two weeks ago due to “financial problems”.





MEC’s hubby in ‘tender scam’


Officials in the KwaZulu-Natal department of arts, culture and tourism have accused MEC Weziwe Thusi of attempting to sweep alleged corruption involving her husband, Nhlanhla, under the carpet.


They allege that while five senior officials, including Thusi’s husband, were fingered in a R500000 scam, only one person was brought to a disciplinary hearing.




Mashatile denies responsibility


Gauteng premier Paul Mashatile had previously warned the ANC leadership about its disgraced former spokesman Carl Niehaus, he said yesterday.


Crest Academy case postponed


The fraud case involving Crest Academy principal Shevron Lewis was on Thursday postponed to the end of February in the Durban Commercial Crime Court.




King takes dim view of directors’ shares


AFTER 18 months of revision, a draft of the third King report on corporate governance will be issued next week for comment.


One of the more significant changes is expected to be tightening of remuneration policies on independent directors


Zuma prosecutors tired of delays


Jacob Zuma's prosecutors have had enough of his "misguided" legal challenges to the corruption case against him.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Tuesday urged the Constitutional Court not to even entertain giving the ANC president the chance to challenge the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision that reinstated his prosecution.

In papers filed before the Constitutional Court on Tuesay, Zuma prosecution team member George Baloyi dismissed as "poor" Zuma's prospects of overturning the SCA's unanimous decision that his prosecution was valid.


Demise of Scorpions ‘hits arms inquiry’


CAPE TOWN — The disruption caused by the dissolution of the Scorpions had undermined investigations into allegations of corruption in the arms deal , National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials conceded yesterday.


Five city officials under fraud spotlight


FIVE Nelson Mandela Bay municipal officials face disciplinary action after the municipality and an audit firm discovered fraud in the creditors section.


Eskom man on trial for R1.6m fraud


A KING William’s Town businessman yesterday told the regional court he paid more than R1 million to an Eskom employee who allegedly took the money for himself.


Wilton Mvelele Ncetezo is facing a charge of fraud after allegedly defrauding Eskom of R1607928 over a period of four years, from 2002 to 2005.




SARS busts VAT fraud syndicate


A VAT refund fraud scam was uncovered with the arrest in Kimberley on Monday of five Ivory Coast nationals for their alleged involvement in a syndicate, the South African Revenue Service said.


KPMG to begin SA Airways audit


JOHANNEBSURG - Forensic auditors KPMG have been appointed to probe the beleaguered national air carrier, South African Airways (SAA), and the conduct of its controversial chief executive Khaya Ngqula.


Jailed for cheating on VAT refunds


A Durban businessman who fraudulently claimed more than R6,2-million in VAT refunds has gone to jail for four years.


"We didn’t know our partner was a crook" – Biodiesel directors


Louis Nyiri, managing director of First in Spec, a biodiesel company, claims he was unaware that his former partner is a convicted criminal.


Nyiri and his First in Spec co-directors, Hein Spies and Llewellyn Whiting, were partners with Thys Bekker in a company called LG Biodiesel.




Niehaus lied over doctorate


Brussels - Carl Niehaus did not obtain a doctorate in theology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1999, as he professes to have done.


Pension fraudster to repay R18m


A 61-year-old man who was found guilty of fraud on Monday was ordered to pay back R18.6 million in compensation, SABC radio news reported.


Zuma: NPA set to meet lawyers


Lawyers for African National Congress President Jacob Zuma will meet the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday, a spokesperson said on Monday.


City probes awarding of R20m contract


The City of Cape Town has launched an external forensic investigation into alleged irregularities with the awarding of a R20-million contract in December for specialised equipment for the handling of solid waste, the council announced on Friday.




Niehaus facing fraud charges


Johannesburg - The Independent Democrats on Sunday laid charges of fraud against former ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus, they said in a statement.


Spotlight falls on Tongaat cops


An intensive probe involving several officers at the Tongaat Police Station is under way. They are being investigated for alleged fraud and corruption that could involve millions of rands.


Now premier faces charges over crafty Carl


Criminal charges will be laid against Gauteng premier Paul Mashatile this week for not reporting Carl Niehaus's acts of corruption at the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (Geda).




Niehaus fraud: ANC knew all about it


Disgraced ANC spokesperson, former jailed ANC activist and post-1994 MP Carl Niehaus, who has confessed to committing serious fraud, stopped at nothing to fund an opulent lifestyle, including making a false claim that his sister had died.


Police out to nail NPA bosses


Top officials claim transcript of phone call proves ‘mafia-style’ conspiracy to sabotage case against Scorpions’ Gauteng boss.

Police are planning to arrest the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) top brass for allegedly interfering in the prosecution of Gerrie Nel, the Gauteng head of the Scorpions.




DA wants audit after Niehaus revelations


The Democratic Alliance on Friday called for a forensic audit into the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA) while ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus worked there after he admitted to forging signatures to secure a loan.


Aveng fined R46m for collusion in concrete pipes market


Construction and engineering firm Aveng CEO Roger Jardine on Friday vowed to eradicate collusion and unethical behaviour within the group, after announcing that it would pay a R46,3-million administrative penalty to the Competition Commission.


Tearful Niehaus admits fraud


He has been entrusted by the ANC with the strategic job of spokesperson. But Carl Niehaus has left a broad trail of bad debt and broken promises behind him.




R4m assets seized after three in court


BUSINESS interests, properties and vehicles valued at over R4million have been confiscated by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) after the arrest of a former top Mnquma Local Municipality official, a Ghanaian citizen and a Butterworth businessman.


Plans to dissolve Mnquma municipality put on hold


A PLAN by Local Government MEC Tokozile Xasa to dissolve the ANC-led Mnquma municipal council in Butterworth has been put on hold following a Bhisho High Court ruling.


The municipality has also written to the Public Protector, Lawrence Mushwana, after it emerged that Xasa was also invoking Section 106 of the Local Government Systems Act, which allows her to start an investigation if she has reason to believe there has been maladministration, fraud, corruption or other malpractice in a municipality.




Cops get R5.4bn tech boost


Finance minister Trevor Manuel has set aside R5.4 billion for safety and security to be ploughed into technology solutions.

Satawu: Ngqula must step aside during probe


SA Airways' CEO Khaya Ngqula should step aside while allegations against him are investigated, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said on Wednesday.


Take Ginwala findings seriously - law society


Parliament must take the findings of the Ginwala Commission seriously in its discussions on axed National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli, the Law Society of SA said on Wednesday.


Fraud syndicate bust


Police have cracked a major fraud syndicate that deals in cloning store cards and using them to buy clothes at chain stores.


The scam is said to have cost unsuspecting customers thousands of rand. The crooks had been purchasing goods using the duplicated cards leaving customers to settle debts they did not incur themselves.




MPs asked to endorse Pikoli decision


The African National Congress chairpersons of parliament's ad hoc committee reviewing Vusi Pikoli's fate tabled a report on Tuesday asking MPs to endorse President Kgalema Motlanthe's decision to axe the prosecutions chief.


Mthethwa on why the Scorpions had to go


Madam Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition expressed surprise on the reaction from the benches when she mentioned Ntate Seremane and how important he is. [Interjections.] It's not disgust, in fact, you surprised all of us. If he was so important, why didn't you give him the position of a leader at the time? [Applause.] You missed an opportunity.


The cars that caused all the trouble...


Chris Ngcobo, the Johannesburg metro police chief forced to step down temporarily by worker power, faces a corruption probe involving R7-million.


Zuma's lawyers set to approach the NPA by today


ANC president Jacob Zuma's lawyers would submit their representations to the National Prosecuting Authority regarding his case either later yesterday or today, his attorney said yesterday.


Facing the music on arms deal


JOHANNESBURG - Parliament could be the scene of some of the most significant revelations around SA’s R60 billion arms deal next week when senior representatives of the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Public Service Commission and Armscor find themselves in the dock before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).


Angry Selebi fights back


Jackie Selebi believes his prosecutors are deliberately manipulating the evidence against him - and he has gone to court to stop them.

The police boss has launched an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court, demanding the state hand over copies of evidence and dozens of documents related to its corruption case against him.




R100m missing from Scorpions


Cape Town - Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa, claimed in the National Assembly on Monday that around R100m has gone missing from the accounts of the Scorpions - the Department of Special Operations or DSO.


Woman in dock for 'fraud'


A 28-year-old woman appeared in the Bela-Bela Magistrate's Court on Monday on a charge of defrauding the municipality of R769 652, Limpopo police said.


Deputy mayor on the carpet after R50m tender debacle


OUDTSHOORN‘S deputy mayor, Jeffrey Swartbooi, will soon face a disciplinary hearing for his alleged involvement in awarding a R50-million tender without following correct procedures.


Principal’s house seized over theft


THE house of a secondary school principal in Mthatha has been attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) after he confessed to stealing 10 school and hostel fund cheques.




Porritt, Bennett case is pending six years later


If the sauce is good for the goose, it is good for the gander. That seems to be the case with Gary Porritt and Sue Bennett, who have managed to drag out their fraud trial for six years without its merits being heard, just as ANC president Jacob Zuma has done.




Living high at our cost


The gravy-trainers’ sense of entitlement is now so entrenched that even when caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar they will proceed with a deal in the glare of the spotlight.


Sowetan is pained to write day after day about the excesses of our political leaders. But as a watchdog we cannot ignore the shameless raiding of public resources.


NPA appeals ruling on state prosecutors


THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has lodged an appeal against a Pretoria High Court judgment regarding state prosecutors which could affect at least 45 high-profile, white collar cases worth billions of rands.


'Employees have lost out on retirement money'


Seventeen Western Cape clothing companies are facing fraud and theft charges after allegedly failing to pay more than R9-million in workers' provident fund contributions to the Clothing Bargaining Council.




Arms probe sabotaged


JOHANNESBURG - The department of justice prevented German investigators from obtaining the assistance of the Scorpions in probing alleged corruption over the sale of submarines and frigates to the SA Navy.


DA to fight payment of suspended Mpuma manager


PRETORIA - The Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga intends exhausting all legal avenues to stop payments to a suspended municipal manager.


Fraud trial starts - after three years


An alleged fraudster and his co-accused wife are due to plead today after evading trial for more than three years.


Zuma trial set for August


African National Congress (ANC) presidential candidate Jacob Zuma will emerge from the forthcoming election with a criminal prosecution hanging over his head after the Pietermaritzburg High Court provisionally set his trial down for August 25.


ANC mayor facing R8,7m fraud charge


A mayor and ANC leader in North West is facing criminal charges after he allegedly ordered his managers to cut budgets for water and other projects to fund a year-long R8,7-million soccer excursion to Brazil for a group of under-15 players.




UKZN graft case heard


There was no evidence to prove that there was anything untoward about money passed between a former UKZN lecturer and her student, or that it was payment in exchange for the awarding of a degree.

The only thing the evidence seemed to suggest, was that former dean of management studies, Prof Pumela Msweli-Mbanga, was paid R16 150 for services her company provided to Nobubele Potwana. This is according to the legal representatives for both women, who grilled forensic auditor and state witness Trevor White when he testified at the corruption trial in Durban's Commercial Crime Court yesterday.


EC audit chief slams Buffalo City’s tender bungles, lack of documents


EASTERN Cape Auditor-General (AG) Singa Ngqwala has slammed the Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) for failing to obtain a clean audit report for the financial year ending June 2008.


He said tender bungles and other irregularities should not be evident in a municipality set to become a metropolitan municipality soon.


Yet another Clifford trial postponement


THE marathon Maureen Clifford fraud trial is still dragging on after yet another postponement in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday.




Top Zuma investigator quits Scorpions over uncertainty


National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Tlali Tlali yesterday confirmed that "since the beginning of this year, (Scorpions' special investigator Isak) du Plooy is no longer in the employ of the NPA".


More prison tender graft alleged


Fresh allegations about graft related to prisons tenders are due to come under the spotlight on Tuesday when parliament's portfolio committee on correctional services meets.

In January an R840 million contract for catering in 31 prisons was awarded to Bosasa, which had been running prison kitchens since 2004 and which is currently under investigation by the Special Investigations Unit for alleged irregularities related to multimillion-rand prisons tenders.


SAICA ushers in a new Executive President


The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), has a new executive president.




Barclays in South Africa currency probe


BARCLAYS has been reported to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over allegations connected to breaches of South Africa’s foreign-exchange controls.


A dossier outlining the claims was delivered to the SFO on Friday. The documents allege that the sums involved could exceed £100m.


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