'Ghost crew' plea bargain hope

2013-07-18 21:23
Fishing boats are berthed at Dalian Bay port, northeast China's Liaoning province after North Koreans detained a Chinese fishing boat from sailing in waters between the two countries. (AFP)

Fishing boats are berthed at Dalian Bay port, northeast China's Liaoning province after North Koreans detained a Chinese fishing boat from sailing in waters between the two countries. (AFP)

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Cape Town - The former manager of a fishing company hopes to negotiate a plea-bargain on multiple fraud charges involving the creation of "ghost" crew members.

Dalton Glenville Randall appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town on Thursday, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg. The case was postponed to 26 September.

A plea bargain is an agreement negotiated with the State, in which all parties involved agree to the sentence to be imposed.

If no deal can be reached the case goes on trial in the normal manner.

Randall faces 486 counts of fraud, and one framed in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Prosecutor Derek Vogel alleges the embezzlement took place over eight years.

According to the charge sheet, Randall was the manager at Flantrade Fishing, a company that provides management and operational services to fishing vessels.

His duties included authorisation and payment of expenses and supplies, the purchase of bait and the payment of salaries and commissions to crew members.

Randall had to prepare written schedules reflecting the names of crew members and the amounts to be paid to them. The State alleges the schedules Randall submitted to financial manager Craig Myburgh, for the payment of crew salaries and commissions, contained fictitious names referred to in the charge sheet as "ghost" crew members.

Randall then allegedly channelled salaries and commissions of R2.5 million for "ghost" crew members into two private bank accounts, for his own personal use.

Randall also allegedly submitted fake invoices totalling R1.2m for bait purchased, to Myburgh.

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