Men sentenced for fraud

2016-03-23 06:00

THREE men, Tumelo Joel Palo (35), Mohlonoa Christian Palo (33) and the late Macdonald Mothusi Mocumi (38), were found guilty on nine charges related to theft and money laundering that date back to the period from 21 June to 11 July 2011 at the Northern Cape Department of Health.

According to Philani Nkwalase, the communications officer of the Hawks, they were arrested on 18 December 2012 in Kimberley and Thaba Nchu for defrauding the Northern Cape’s Department of Health of more than R1,4 million through electronic transactions.

Nkwalase said the fraudulent transactions were discovered when a company rendering services to the Department of Health queried non-payment of the services rendered to the state.

“Records revealed that the banking details of the company were changed to a different bank account within which payments were already done.

“Two separate transactions of R882 887 and R556 223,47 were paid into the fraudulent account on two consecutive days. The money was further transferred from personal to business accounts and then distributed to other additional accounts,” stated Nkwalase. A case of fraud was investigated against the account holder, Selaotse Morata (33), who received the undue payment and further transferred the money to a business entity bank account. He was arrested.

The Palos and Mocumi were the other additional account holders who were arrested as recipients of sharing the R1,4 million.

Nkwalase further revealed that they made various withdrawals and that there were no tangible assets bought that could be repossessed.

They first appeared before the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on 20 December 2012 on nine criminal charges that varied from theft to money laundering and were granted bail in the ongoing case.

“It was established throughout the investigation and court process that security access codes of the department’s employees on leave were used in their absence and that an unknown insider altered banking details of the company through the BAS financial system.

“The arrested suspects never disclosed how they acquired the alleged inside help to alter banking details from the BAS system. None of the department’s employees are directly linked to the fraudulent incident and it remains a mystery how they acquired internal assis-tance,” Nkwalase stated.

Morata was sentenced to five years for each of the two counts of theft and three years for each of the five counts of money laundering. He will effectively serve ten years in prison, as sentences run concurrently.

Mohlonoa Christian Palo was sentenced to five years for theft and three years for each of the three counts of money laundering and will effectively serve a five year sentence. Tumelo Joel Palo was sentenced to three years for each of the two counts of money laundering and he will serve three years, as both sentences run concurrently.

The provincial head of the Hawks, Maj. Genl. Kholekile Galawe, welcomed the sentence and applauded the officers who ensured the arrests and prosecutions.

“This is a priority crime that raises major concern. It involves a network of people in strategic positions, hence the money was moved around to ensure payment to other role players. This cannot be tolerated in our fragile economy.”

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