PMB DA councillor Atwaru faces 34 counts of RAF fraud

2014-02-26 00:00

MSUNDUZI DA councillor and attorney, Naleni Atwaru (42) and a medical doctor, Terence Govender (37) of Reservoir Hills, are preparing to go to trial in the Pietermaritzburg regional court on charges of defrauding the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

The state alleges the total potential prejudice to the RAF resulting from Atwaru’s involvement in the alleged crimes was R886 169,50 and that of Govender R796 669,50.

Atwaru was first arrested and charged in November 2011, but the charges were withdrawn against her on March 5, 2012.

She and Govender were charged in the matter again last year.

When they appeared in the Pietermaritzburg regional court this week, the case was postponed to April 9 for purposes of setting a trial date.

According to the state’s charge sheet, Atwaru faces 34 counts, and Govender 30 counts, of defrauding the RAF between 2006 and 2009.

In the alternative, Atwaru faces a total 27 counts of theft totalling R561 697,65, and Govender 23 counts of theft totalling R490 097,65. Both also face seven alternative charges of attempted theft of amounts totalling R195 897,72.

They are also charged with corruption. The state alleges that the two accused had conspired with one another, as well as possibly other medical practitioners, their employees, police officials or people “unknown to the state” to defraud the RAF.

They allegedly did so by pretending that various claimants who had lodged claims against the RAF had suffered “bodily injuries” in motor vehicle accident, and that they had consulted Govender and were treated by him for the alleged injuries, when in fact they knew that the claims were false.

It is further alleged that Atwaru — in her capacity as an attorney — was not mandated by the alleged “claimants” to lodge claims for compensation on their behalf against the RAF, and they were not aware of nor signed the affidavits that were lodged in support of the applications on their behalf.

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