Businessman ordered to repay ‘stolen’ cash

2016-04-12 09:45

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Pietermaritzburg - Pietermaritzburg businessman Mthokozisi Phungula (29) was given a wholly suspended three-year sentence yesterday and ordered to repay R29 206,20 he admittedly stole from the KZN Education Department (DoE).

The state earlier withdrew fraud charges against a department official, Thobile Mthembu.

According to the original charge sheet, she was alleged to have facilitated the payment of the money to Phungula as a so-called “ghost employee” of the DoE.

However in his plea to court, which was accepted by the state, Phungula said the money was wrongly paid into his account on March 3, 2010. He knew he was not entitled to the money but decided to keep it and spend it.

Phungula’s advocate Louis Barnard stressed that he was a first offender and had taken responsibility for the theft without making fanciful excuses.

He said Phungula is studying project management at Varsity College. He is a businessman who “does work on a tender basis” for the government and private sector and his conviction will affect his business. “He accepts that and wants to move forward,” he said.

Magistrate B. Jaynarain said it was aggravating the money was stolen from a government department and this impacts on society at large. However, he said Phungula took responsibility and he has the potential to play an active and productive role in society in future.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court  |  theft

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