DA councillor arrested over R3,7 mln RAF fraud

2012-02-10 00:00

A MSUNDUZI Municipality councillor made a brief appearance in the Durban’s Commercial Crimes Court yesterday for allegedly defrauding the Road Accident Fund (RAF) of an estimated R3,7 million.

Democratic Alliance councillor Naleni Atwaru (40), who is a ward 33 councillor and a well-known lawyer in the city, was arrested with her 66-year-old mother-in-law and two other suspects in the early hours of yesterday morning by the commercial crime unit.

The case against her mother-in-law was withdrawn. The other two suspects appeared in the Point Periodical Court.

Atwaru was released on R5 000 bail and the others on free bail.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said that at about 5 am yesterday police launched a blitz operation to stamp out RAF fraud.

Atwaru is charged with making fraudulent claims dating back three years.

The RAF allegedly made part payments of substantial amounts to Atwaru and her mother in-law.

She is alleged to have facilitated the fraudulent submissions of claims.

“The timely intervention by the commercial crime unit saved RAF millions of rands which would have been lost as a result of a fraudulent claim of this nature.

“This should send a warning to the society that we have capacity to effectively investigate fraud and successfully trace, track and arrest the swindlers,” said Mdunge.

Eight residents of Northdale were arrested in November on similar charges.

Rosalind Govender (41), Sunmugan Archery (37), Rooksudna Mahomed (52), Menisuree Ranjitu (37), Leean Reddy (33), Vinasua Buckus (39), Sajid Khan (32) and Rehana Buckus (41) were charged with defrauding the RAF with R92 million over a period of six years.

Also in November, Percy Kali (47) of Chatsworth, believed to be linked to the Northdale group, was arrested and released on R15 000 bail.

Kali allegedly encouraged accident victims to lodge up to 1 395 false claims against the fund.

Mdunge alleged that the group had been submitting fraudulent claims to the fund since 2006.

The DA caucus leader in Msunduzi Municipality, Bill Lambert, said the party had noted the charges against its councillor.

“I shall consult with the leadership of the party and federal structures of the DA.

“We will discuss on how to proceed as a result of this matter as it is still sub judice,” said Lambert.

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