Cape Town office workers sentenced

2012-04-24 20:20

Johannesburg - Two Cape Town office workers were sentenced on Tuesday by the Bellville Magistrate's Court for stealing thousands of rands from their company.

Marlene Septoe and Soraya Hassiem stole R711 896 by manipulating the books of Sanitaryware, in Epping, an industrial area near the city. They were found guilty last week.

The court heard that asset-confiscation proceedings would be launched against Septoe by the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court to try and recoup the stolen money.

This meant she could lose her house.

Septoe was found guilty on 144 counts of theft and was sentenced to three years house arrest and a four-year suspended jail sentence.

Magistrate Amrith Chabillal also ordered Septoe to do 16 hours of community service for every month she was under house arrest.

Hassiem, who Septoe employed, was found guilty on 123 counts and was sentenced to three years house arrest and community service.

During their trial, Septoe and Hassiem said they became close friends and shared their worries about financial problems.

Septoe then agreed to a scheme, suggested by Hassiem, that they manipulate the company's accounting system and use the money to solve their financial worries.

The magistrate said it was clear the pair had manipulated the system for as long as a year.

"They had ample time to reflect on the wrong that they were doing, but persisted until they were caught out," he said.

Employers had the right to unwavering loyalty from their staff and both deserved prison sentences.

However, as Septoe was the primary care-giver to three small children, including an infant, she was spared prison.

"It would be unfair to jail Hassiem, if Septoe, who stole more than Hassiem, escaped prison," said Chabillal.