Former union official in court for allegedly submitting fraudulent invoices totalling R50m

A former health programme CEO at the South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) has appeared in court for allegedly submitting fraudulent invoices totalling R50m from various companies and non-profit organisations.

Colleen Khumalo, 51, appeared in the Cape Town Regional Court on Thursday and faces a charge of fraud.

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) spokesperson Captain Philani Nkwalase said Khumalo's arrest and subsequent appearance followed a 2018 Hawks' investigation of allegations of misappropriating funds donated from the US.

"The funds were meant to be redistributed to deserving non-profit organisations to fight the spread of transmissible diseases by providing healthcare services to key groups and individuals," Nkwalase said.

He said the initial investigations had also connected Zimbabwe-born US citizen and South African branch chief at the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Dr Alfred Bere to the mismanagement of donor funding for Sactwu's worker health programme.

ALSO READ: Fraud-accused Centre for Disease Control boss released on R100K bail

On August 24, 2018, Bere was arrested at the Beitbridge border post while on his way to neighbouring Zimbabwe.

He was then transported to Cape Town after a brief appearance in the Musina Magistrate's Court and was later, on September 12, granted bail of R100 000 with strict conditions.

"Khumalo is alleged to have submitted fraudulent invoices exceeding R50m from different companies and NPOs and the amount is subject to increase," Nkwalase said.

The duo appeared together and their case was postponed to April 29, 2019, for further investigation. 

Nkwalase said Khumalo was released on R20 000 bail while Bere remained out on R100 000 bail.

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