Cops can't find culprit in R2.7m fraud case
Mbombela - Mpumalanga police have yet to identify and arrest an insider who is believed to have transferred R2.7m from the Mbombela municipal coffers into a bank accounting belonging to a Free State businessman.
This surfaced during the bail hearing of Monnapule Ernest Sebeela, 35, in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
Sebeela, who is a businessman based in Bloemfontein, is facing theft and fraud charges relating to the deposit of R2.7m from Mbombela into his bank account on September 30.
Investigating officer Constable Pilane Twala told the court that police had not yet identified the person who made the deposit.
There is no sworn affidavit or statement that can say who transferred the money into the accused’s account,” Twala said, answering a question from the prosecution team.
He admitted to the state that police were still trying to track down an elusive Chinese woman, only known as Pye Pye, in relation to the matter.
The state presented two copies of faxes indicating that Sebeela's company, Nare Trading 522, delivered medical supplies amounting to R2.7m to a businessman in Lesotho.
However, Sebeela told the court that he received a call from a person who said they wanted to use his business account to transfer money they had received through a tender.
He claimed that he was unaware that the money came from Mbombela local municipality but admitted to withdrawing it days after the transfer was made.
He said he withdrew the money and gave it back to the person who had made the deposit.
Sebeela's lawyer Coert Jordaan told the court that his client only had R9 in his account before the money was transferred.
Magistrate Eddie Hall denied bail to Sebeela on the grounds that he had business links in Lesotho and that he had "blatantly lied" to the court when he denied doing business in that country.
"The accused is no stranger to charges of fraud or appearing in court," said Hall.
He said Sebeela was also facing 62 charges of fraud in different cases in the Bloemfontein Regional Court, which are to be heard on January 14 2012.
He said Sebeela appeared to be connected to different people from all over the country.
He said an example was Sebeela's connection to his co-accused Kgomotso Jacob Oupa Moloisi, 38, from Soweto in Gauteng, who was released on R20 000 bail in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court last week.
Sebeela told the court that he earned R100 000 per month through his businesses.
He said he bought a BWX X5 and a bakkie for his mother, but said he lost his house in an insolvency sale a few years ago.
He was not asked to plead to charges of theft and fraud and the case was postponed to January 24 next year for further police investigation.
Last month, eight Mbombela employees were suspended pending a forensic investigation into the disappearance of the R2.7m from the council employees' gratuity fund.
The money was meant to be paid across to Coris Capital, a company that administers the municipality's retirement funds.
The money was instead fraudulently transferred between three different bank accounts, including Sebeela's.
Mayor Cathy Dlamini told journalists that then acting municipal manager Norah Mthembu and two senior managers were demoted because they had failed to implement council resolutions aiming to strengthen financial management.