Fraud News 2009


January 2009

February 2009

 Fraud News from Africa: January 2009

For international news click here



'New' Pikoli's sleazy past


Durban advocate Muzi Mkhize, tipped to take over as national prosecutions boss, is up to his neck in the Land Bank scandal. Mkhize admitted under oath to complicity in what amounts to corrupt attempts to secure multimillion-rand loans from the bank.


Businessman loses R2m in ‘miracle machine‘ scam


SHAMED Eastern Cape inventor and businessman Gervan Lubbe has struck again – this time allegedly using tears, empty promises and a “painted miracle machine” to lure his latest “unsuspecting victim” – a Cape Town businessman who claims the former Telkom technician duped him out of R2-million.


Sisters guilty of fraud


Cape Town - Three sisters who created fraudulent salary advice and bank statements to obtain credit from financial institutions were found guilty by the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court on Friday.




N125 million Fraud: Court Discharges Bedding Holdings MD


An Abuja High Court yesterday discharged the managing director of Bedding Holdings, Chief Sylvester Odigie, of alleged Advanced Fee Fraud (419) charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).


Motlanthe signs Bill to scrap Scorpions


President Kgalema Motlanthe has approved two pieces of legislation disbanding the Scorpions, the Presidency confirmed today.


ANC accused of hiding corruption


Opposition parties have voiced the view that the replacement of Ithala Bank chief executive Ike Nxedlana with the head of the KwaZulu-Natal treasury, Sipho Shabalala, just months ahead of elections has been done to cover up corruption at the bank.


Gloomy figures - Gauteng ‘fails’ to finalise most graft cases


The Gauteng government has only been able to finalise 51 out of 616 corruption cases referred by the National Anti-Corruption Hotline in the past four years.


Co-accused in R160 mln fraud case granted legal aid


Tigon chief executive Gary Porritt and his co-director Sue Bennett — co-accused in what could turn out to be South Africa’s biggest ever fraud case — will get legal aid. This is despite the fact that they posted nearly R1 million in bail after they were arrested in December 2002 and April 2004 respectively and stand accused of having “unlawfully expropriated” more than R160 million in investors’ money, which was never recovered.


Forensic audit reconciles R68m but still probing mystery R24m - Sentula


JOHANNESBURG ( – Fraud-hit JSE-listed Sentula Mining said on Friday that its forensic audit had succeeded in fully reconciling an errant equipment-related R68-million, but that the source of a deposit of R24,1-million into an undisclosed account was still unknown.


Supply-chain fraud on the increase


International fraud detection specialist Kroll says in its 2008 report that at every step along the supply chain, opportunities for fraud exist, ranging from simple theft through to large- scale misrepresentation of inventory assets. It notes that as firms expand across borders and multiply their product offerings, opportunities for fraud augment too.




Fraud suspect escapes


Police are hunting for a key suspect said to be part of a huge fraud syndicate. He escaped last month pending his trial on charges that he defrauded state departments of more than R20 million.


Ex-Malawi leader to go on trial


Malawi’s highest court says the former president can be prosecuted for the alleged theft of $10 million (R100 million) in missing aid money.


Is he a Zuma man?


The advocate tipped to be South Africa's new prosecutions boss - and who could ultimately decide the fate of presidential aspirant Jacob Zuma - was an active member of the ANC leader's legal team when he was first charged with corruption.


No let-up in NPA pressure on Selebi


Thank you, but it's not good enough.

This message, from the Scorpions to the police, was behind an agreement to postpone a court hearing into the legal battle for evidence needed for the prosecution of National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.


Island Museum denies it is in a shambles


Robben Island Museum acting chief executive Seelan Naidoo has denied claims that the organisation is in a shambles, saying business has flourished and is expected to break even in the next financial year.




Activist Botha warns PPC on audit committee chair


Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) was warned yesterday about a potential conflict of interest because of the close relationship between the chairman of its audit committee and the listed cement and lime producer's auditor, Deloitte & Touche.


'Fraud victim was also negligent'


The ombudsman for banking services has ruled partly in favour of a bank customer who fell prey to fraudsters in a cheque deposit scam, ordering two major banks to compensate the victim R16 500 for their negligence - half his loss of R33 000.


Zuma case: SA's most expensive?


Bloemfontein - Before ANC president Jacob Zuma has even stepped into the dock and is asked to plead, his trial is turning into what may become the most expensive criminal case yet in South Africa.


Apart from the R10.7m that taxpayers have paid for his legal fees, the State's cost in setting up the prosecution has yet to be determined. A legal source in the Free State has said the amount could be as much as Zuma's legal fees.


Zuma misses deadline with NPA


ANC president Jacob Zuma has missed his agreed deadline to tell his prosecutors why they should withdraw the corruption case against him.


Catch-me-if-you-can con artist in court


Alleged serial fraudster Samson Khaukhani Budeli yesterday unceremoniously abandoned his bail application when he appeared in the Krugersdorp magistrate’s court.




Robben Island Museum’s money woes


An audit on the Robben Island Museum reveals that there are inadequate controls on the museum’s finances.


The museum earned a disclaimer of opinion from Auditor General Terence Nombembe for its 2007/08 financial statements.


The AG said, among other things, that because of inadequate controls over tourism income, he had been unable to satisfy himself as to the completeness of the total ticket sales of R28,335,209.


Auditor General rejects Robben Island audit


Robben Island Museum has earned a disclaimer of opinion from Auditor General Terence Nombembe for its 2007/08 financial statements.

The AG said, among other things, that because of inadequate controls over tourism income, he had been unable to satisfy himself as to the completeness of the total ticket sales of R28 335 209.


Businessman escapes fraud charges


Charges of fraud against Kempton Park businessman Sipho Msomi have been provisionally withdrawn at the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court following his escape, SABC news reported on Monday.

Msomi, 36, believed to be mastermind of a syndicate that defrauded five government departments in KwaZulu-Natal, escaped while awaiting trial.


Missing R97 000 'an accounting mishap'


Confusion concerning the whereabouts of a R97 000 deposit in a house transaction was an "accounting mishap", the Belville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court heard on Monday.

The alleged victim in the transaction, Sheryl Cook, told the court she never recovered the R97 000 deposit, nor did she ever get transfer of a R1.8 million apartment in Hout Bay into her name.




Zuma’s new court date to be set


ANC president Jacob Zuma is scheduled to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on February 4, when a date for his corruption trial will be set.


Theta to probe allegations against CEO


THE Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (Theta) is hoping to appoint, by month end, an independent team to investigate serious allegations regarding the actions of its CEO Mike Tsotetsi, its chief financial officer Ben Keet and its entire board, chairman Joseph Maqhekeni confirmed last week.


Tigon CEO, director ready for trial after legal aid ruling


ONE of SA’s biggest fraud cases finally looks set to go to court after Johannesburg High Court Judge Geraldine Borchers ruled last week that Tigon CEO Gary Porritt and director Sue Bennett were entitled to legal aid.




MEC Nkonyeni’s graft case is set for June


KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Neliswa “Peggy” Nkonyeni will stand trial on charges of corruption in the Pietermaritzburg regional court from June 1 to 12.


Scorpions' sting poised as Selebi case builds


The Scorpions have played their next card in the run-up to Jackie Selebi's trial by hauling police crime intelligence boss Mulangi Mphego into the dock.


Court sequel to Selebi affidavit


ACTING divisional commissioner for crime intelligence Mulangi Mphego found himself on the wrong side of the law when he appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday on a charge of defeating the ends of justice.


NPA aim for Goodwin extradition


The National Prosecuting Authority has processed all the legal documents necessary for the extradition of former Fidentia boss Steven Goodwin.


Two govt officials nabbed by Scorpions


Bloemfontein - Two employees of the Free State Department of Health have been arrested along with another person on charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering amounting to R9.2 million.


Turning RICA compliance obligations into a competitive advantage


The looming implementation of the last elements of the RICA Act means headaches for South Africa's telecommunications operators and retailers, says Swisttech general manager: development, Michael Hamilton – but smart service providers and network operators can use this data to give them a competitive edge in what is becoming a hotly contested telco market.


Bitou gets clean audit report from A-G‘s office


BITOU mayor Lulama Mvimbi says his municipality‘s clean audit report for last year from the auditor general‘s office makes nonsense of the allegations of corruption and mismanagement which have dogged the council since 2005.


Kitchen confidential


Three weeks after being raided by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) during a massive tender-fraud investigation, controversial facilities management company Bosasa Operations was awarded another multimillion-rand contract by the Department of Correctional Services.




2010 big shot skips SA


Chris Grib, chief executive officer of the controversial project manager of the 2010 Mbombela stadium, Lefika Emerging Equity, has skipped the country after learning that his company is in hot water with the tax man.


Shaik’s R5m settlement ‘normal’: NPA


The National Prosecuting Authority’s R5 million agreement with fraudster Schabir Shaik was "normal", it said.


"... The settlement between the NPA and Shaik is a normal one in civil litigation where disputes are often settled between the parties rather than litigated," NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali said in a statement.


Cyber café operators team up with police to fight fraudulent activities


SOUTH African cybernet café operators have teamed up with police to deal with customers that abuse their equipment to engage in fraudulent activities.




Twist at hearing


There was deadly silence in court for a minute or two when the state prosecutor held his chin in apparent shock that his own witness had just given evidence supporting the defence.


This was during the high-profile corruption case against former Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation CEO Ernest Khoza and former director-general Stanley Soko in the Nelspruit regional court yesterday.


Chiefs boss seeks to gag newspaper


A top soccer boss has turned to the Pretoria High Court in an urgent attempt to gag a Sunday newspaper from publishing "defamatory" statements linking him and his company to the recent assassination of the Local Mbombela Municipality speaker Jimmy Mohlala.


Fingerprint, DNA plans set to gobble up R8bn


Plans to increase police access to fingerprints and DNA samples to boost the fight against crime will cost between R5-billion and R8-billion.




Pikoli sticks to his guns


Axed national prosecutions chief Vusi Pikoli insisted before Parliament on Tuesday that he was a political victim, sidelined by former president Thabo Mbeki for refusing orders not to prosecute the national police chief.


ConCourt to rule on extradition treaty


The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment related to South Africa’s extradition agreement with the United States when it sits on Wednesday.


Hands off judiciary: Langa


CHIEF Justice Pius Langa and his Constitutional Court colleague, Justice Albie Sachs, have warned that personal attacks on judges threatened to weaken the country’s judiciary and democracy.


Fraudster 'consulted psychic'


Port Elizabeth - Convicted swindler Maureen Clifford on Monday appeared in the witness stand for the first time since her case commenced in the Port Elizabeth High Court in 2004.

In October 2008, Clifford, 65, her daughter, Daleen Conway, 34, her sister, Thelma van Rooyen, 61, and two former Absa employees, Niel Terblanche, 46, and Gerhardt Visagie, 45, were found guilty of fraud of about R152m.



Conman with R1,74 in bank account buys R10m mansion


Samson Khaukhani Budeli has less than R2 in his bank account but he signed a deal with a real estate company to buy a mansion worth R10million.


Three waiters to go on trial


Three Kauai Juice waiters are to go on trial next month in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on fraud and conspiracy charges.

The charges relate to the use of credit card readers and encoding devices, for the manufacture of fake credit cards.


Seitisho, Wildeman want charges dropped


ANOTHER postponement is expected in the fraud and theft trial of Bitou councillor Euan Wildeman and former municipal manager George Seitisho when it resumes in the Knysna regional court today.


Telkom appoints KPMG to review contract process


Telkom (JSE:TKG) South Africa Ltd., Africa's largest fixed-line phone company, appointed KPMG South Africa Ltd. to audit "certain aspects" of its procurement processes after a report about alleged corruption in awarding a contract.




Police boss warns corrupt cops


Johannesburg - There is no place for rogue elements within the SA Police Service, Gauteng police commissioner Perumal Naidoo said on Monday.


Court move to halt Telkom tender


MAREDI Telecom and Broadcasting has filed an urgent court application in the Pretoria High Court in a bid to stop Telkom awarding a multimillion-rand tender to Ericsson South Africa and Telsaf Data.


Mpumalanga officials in court


Former Mpumalanga director-general Stanley Soko and the province's former Economic Empowerment Corporation chief executive Ernest Khoza will appear in court on Tuesday to face corruption and fraud charges, the SABC reported.


Blue collar fraudsters?


Five clothing companies in the Western Cape have been charged with fraud and theft for deducting money from workers' wages then failing to pay it to the Clothing Bargaining Council.


Three university staff investigated


Three senior University of Stellenbosch staff, two of them top academics, have recently been investigated for financial irregularities - one has been dismissed, the second given a written warning and the third investigation continues.




Travellers duped in ticket scam


Hundreds of South Africans have been duped in a massive air-travel scam promising cheap flights, both locally and internationally.




Forged matric certificates already flooding job market


Despite the fact that no endorsed matric certificates have been issued as yet, fake 2008 matric certificates have started turning up at employment agencies and at prospective employers.


‘More like a toll than a road block’


A DAY before ANC president Jacob Zuma took to the stage at last weekend’s launch of his party’s election manifesto in East London — vowing to stamp out government corruption — two traffic cops were brazenly accepting bribes from motorists 300km away in Port St Johns.




SITA executive cleared


The Auditor-General (AG) has cleared Michelle Williams, a non-executive director of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), of any irregularities with regards to the awarding of a tender to provide SITA with business process management services.


Transet’s fraudster execs lose


The former senior executive of Transnet’s housing division was ordered to pay their employer more than R1,5 million after the transport giant uncovered an alleged fictitious licence fee scam.


Cop caught on camera


The South African Police Service has warned its members not to get involved in corruption and bribery after a police officer was caught on CCTV camera on Wednesday accepting a bribe in the Point area.


Selebi: NPA has no evidence


The National Prosecuting Authority has no evidence to support its corruption case against suspended police chief Jackie Selebi, he said in an interview published today.


Parties slam review of law on NPA


Opposition parties have reacted furiously to the ANC's move to review legislation dealing with the role, functions and position of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), warning they will fight any attempt to interfere with the independence of this office.


KZN MEC accused of making it a family affair


Controversy has broken out over allegations of nepotism by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Meshack Radebe, the Mercury reported on Thursday.

The Congress of the People (COPE) has called on Premier S'bu Ndebele to launch an inquiry into allegations that up to four of Radebe's children were employed in his department.


Zuma turns to Constitutional Court


AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma will approach the Constitutional Court in a bid to challenge the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) did not have to give him an opportunity to make representations before he was charged again.




Ministers named in Naguru estate fraud


Uganda: THE Nakawa-Naguru estate redevelopment project worth $300m (about sh600b) was fraudulently allocated to Opec Prime Properties Ltd by the Ministry of Local Government, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) has disclosed.


SA police uniforms sold online


JOHANNESBURG - Criminals wanting to pose as police, defence personnel and se- curity guards can easily buy official uniforms, insignia and badges via local websites and surplus stores.


This is a cause of headaches for departments and security agencies.


'Glenister's evidence on MPs insufficient'


Gauteng businessman Hugh Glenister did not have enough evidence to prove that the voting of parliamentarians implicated in the Travelgate scandal on the disbanding of Scorpions would compromise the legislative process, the Cape high court said on Tuesday.


Scorpions vs cops


The Scorpions have secured a dozen subpoenas against top police officers - including acting SAPS chief Tim Williams - ordering them to surrender the evidence they need to prosecute Jackie Selebi.

The subpoenas, obtained from the Randburg magistrate's court, give the senior police officers until January 27 to hand over the required documents or appear in court to explain why they won't.


Ex-air force head jailed


LUSAKA: A Zambian court had sentenced the former head of the air force to six years in jail after he had been found guilty of stealing government property for use in two of his homes, state radio reported yesterday.


Acquitted Jonas considers legal action


Former Metro Police chief Bongani Jonas, who was cleared of fraud and forgery charges last week, says the City of Cape Town wanted to force him out "at all costs" and used the accusations against him as an excuse to have him fired.


Bank sacks staffer for robbing clients


First National Bank has fired one of two consultants for robbing clients of nearly R500000. Twenty victims have laid charges of fraud and theft against the two.


Kenya to probe suspected maize scam


NAIROBI - Kenya's anti-corruption authority will open an investigation into the suspected embezzling of large quantities of maize in a country threatened by food shortages, officials said on Tuesday.


Banking frauds focus on ATMs


AFTER numerous warnings about banking fraud, banks said yesterday last month’s figures indicated fraud was confined mainly to ATM incidents.




Liberty Life clobbers rogue franchise


The owners of a Liberty Life franchise have been clobbered by the insurance giant. Anton de Beer and Wayne Harris, owners of Select Financial Services, were "S-referenced" by Liberty Life in conjunction with the Life Offices Association. This means they can no longer market long-term insurance products in South Africa.


Motlanthe won't probe arms deal


President Kgalema Motlanthe has stuck to his guns about not appointing a judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal and will defend any lawsuit, if necessary.


CIDB names suspended fraudulent contractors


South Africa’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has openly named contractors that it has suspended from its register for fraud, as the organisation took a tough stance on “unscrupulous contractors”.


Top guns to save Zuma


The ANC is poised to launch its own legal rescue bid to ensure party president Jacob Zuma never goes on trial to face graft charges.


Cross-border car theft syndicate bust


A suspected international car theft syndicate - allegedly specialising in the theft of millions of rands worth of South African vehicles for insurance fraud - has been bust in Lesotho.


Highlights from Deputy Judge President Louis Harms’s judgment


“It follows from this that, as the trial judge (Chris Nicholson) recognised, ‘political meddling’ was not an issue that had to be determined. Nevertheless, a substantial part of his judgment dealt with this question; and in the course of this discussion he changed the rules of the game, took his eyes off the ball and red-carded not only players but also spectators. Lest his judgment be considered authoritative it will be necessary to deal with these matters.”




Matric irregularities probed


Education officials are investigating serious irregularities involving 700 matric candidates, it was revealed on Monday following a special meeting of the council of education ministers.


Tutu email scam is doing the rounds


An email appealing for funds in Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's name is a fake, Tutu's office said on Monday.


Io rolls out forensic call search


Io Speech Analytics, a contact centre consultancy, has released iocallfinder, a forensic call search service for contact centres, reports Call Centre Clinic.

Using phonetics speech technology, iocallfinder automatically recognises and indexes recorded conversations, allowing call categorisation and forensic searching based on their content – the actual words, names and phrases spoken.


Judge grants bail for police suspects


Two police officers who appeared in court on corruption charges were granted bail in the Atteridgeville Magistrate's Court on Monday, Gauteng police said.


Committee on Pikoli dismissal to meet


President Kgalema Motlanthe’s decision to sack the Director of Public Prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli, has been referred to Parliament for a final verdict and will be tabled today.


SCA's scathing attack on Nicholson


The Supreme Court of Appeal delivered a scathing judgment against Judge Chris Nicholson on Monday, describing his finding of political meddling in the Jacob Zuma graft case as "erroneous", "unwarranted" and "incomprehensible".




Police uncover 2010 fraud syndicate


With the 2010 Fifa World Cup just over a year away, police have uncovered a new fraud syndicate that targets wealthy visitors staying in luxury hotels and guest houses.

And they have already exposed more than 400 ticket scams.




ANC promises no more 'jobs for pals'


The ANC plans to ensure that the practice of “jobs for pals” is something of the past and said it would review the government tendering system to ensure that it is not abused.


Freedom for Shaik?


Jacob Zuma's former financial adviser, jailed businessman Schabir Shaik, could be home within months.


Councillor axed over travel fraud


A controversial Southern Cape councillor has been removed from his position with immediate effect after being found guilty of submitting fraudulent travel claims to the tune of R60 000.




Cyber crime hits govt


Three IT specialists appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court yesterday for siphoning R950 000 from the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation.


Identiguard out of line — Metorex


SECURITY company Identiguard International has laid charges of perjury and obstructing the course of justice against Metorex CE Charles Needham in another attempt to persuade Metorex to pay a debt owed to Identiguard by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.




5 000 new police for South Africa


The South African Police Service (Saps) has announced that its ranks have been swelled by more than 5 000, with the graduation of a large group of new police officers in December 2008.


Prominent Mozambicans accused of corruption


Maputo - Three high-profile Mozambique public servants have been detained on corruption charges, it was reported on Wednesday.


Zuma court timeline


The Supreme Court of Appeal hands down judgment in Bloemfontein on Monday in an appeal lodged by the National Director of Public Prosecutions.


The NDPP is appealing against the September 2008 ruling by Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson which effectively halted the prosecution of ruling party leader Jacob Zuma.


Here is a timeline of events leading up to the appeal case alongside quotes marking the major moments.


Whistle-blower murder gets top priority


THE investigation of the murder of ANC councillor Jimmy Mohlala will “receive the attention it deserves”, Mpumalanga safety and security MEC Siphosezwe Masango said yesterday.




Nigeria: ICPC Probes Yuguda Over Alleged N65 Billion Fraud


Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is on the trail of the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, for alleged misappropriation of N65 billion.


South Africa's e-mail isn't safe


A Mimecast SA survey of over 300 IT professionals on their company's e-mail usage has found that South African businesses still regard e-mail as an operational function - a bit like ordering stationary - rather than a business-critical one.


Business spurned in fight against crime


Former President Nelson Mandela invited business to join government as a partner in the fight against crime in 1996 but, judging by this year's report of Business Against Crime (BACSA), the present government is not taking the partnership seriously.


Chairman Mark Lamberti writes that lessons learned on a number of BAC projects were rarely implemented by government.


Top investigators to probe BCM tender scandals


CRACK government investigators are being called in to probe Buffalo City’s tender administration. Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Tokozile Xasa has asked the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to investigate possible corruption in the tender process.


Giving Selebi the boot will make us all feel a lot safer


EDITORIAL: THE firing of Jackie Selebi is long overdue. The national police commissioner will have been on “extended leave of absence” for exactly a year next week.




Competition body wants hackers prosecuted


The Competition Commission has laid criminal charges against the unknown hackers who lifted the lid on highly confidential information about the South African banking system that the four big banks wanted to keep under wraps.


US firm to sue JCI, Kebble


THE estate of the late Brett Kebble and mining house JCI look set to face damage claims from a US-based biotechnology company, according to a Globe Newswire report on Tuesday.


Hemispherx Biopharma has charged Kebble with alleged illegal manipulation of its stock "for purposes of bringing about a hostile takeover of the company".


Foodcorp agrees to R45,4m cartel fine


Johannesburg – Consumer food brands maker Foodcorp has agreed to pay a fine of R45,4-million for its involvement in the bread and milling cartel scandal that rocked the country towards the end of 2007.




Mthethwa admits cop corruption


Johannesburg - Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Monday that the public's perception of police corruption was correct and vowed to crack down on graft in the SAPS.


ANC whistle-blower shot dead


A senior ANC official who blew the whistle on alleged corruption in a 2010 construction project was shot dead in his Nelspruit house on Sunday evening, an official said today.


New fingerprint law to help police


A MORE effective criminal justice system comes a step closer this year when Parliament debates a bill intended to allow the police to have access to the fingerprint databases kept by other government departments.





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