A plan by two Limpopo cash-in-transit guards to enrich themselves with the money they were meant to protect has instead landed them in jail after they were found guilty of stealing more than R2-million this week.
Rofhiwa Emmanuel Luvhimbi (30) and Tinyiko Thomas Maluleke (40), both employees of Fidelity Group, were each sentenced to nine years in prison at the Louis Trichardt Regional Court.
The duo stole a whopping R2.9 million on December 18 last year while on their way from collecting money from different business outlets.
The court heard that during the trip, Luvhimbi told Maluleke that ‘‘he is very worried because all his colleagues got bonuses - as it normally happens towards the end of each year - except for him”. Maluleke responded by saying he had only received a bonus of R1000.
Luvhimbi then told Maluleke they should take the money they had collected from Kingsley, Shoprite and Clicks which amounted to exactly R2 934 112.90.
The accused shared the money equally. Luvhimbi stashed the money inside the bag he used to carry a lunch box.
The two then went back to their work stations and performed their routine work. When they knocked off they took their bag full of money without anyone noticing.
Luvhimbi hid his share of the loot in a hole he had dug in his yard.
When the employer noticed there was money missing, a team comprising of members from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit, Crime Intelligence, the Makhado Task Team and Thohoyandou Tactical Response Team was assigned to conduct a thorough investigation at Luvhimbi and Maluleke’s respective residences.
The money was found buried in their backyards.
Luvhimbi had already bought himself a double cab vehicle, roof tiles and a fence for his property. In total police recovered R2.6 million.
Sentencing the pair on Monday, Magistrate Pandelani Mudau said the employer had trusted the two accused in guarding the money and, unfortunately, they decided to take the money for their themselves, betraying the employer.
Mudau said the court was of the view that direct imprisonment would be an appropriate sentence.
“The two should be deterred from such a conduct and also deter those outside. Employees should not steal from their employers. The sentence of each accused is nine years,” he said.
Prosecutor Hilke Janse Van Rensburg said the fact that the accused were earning over R10 000 at the time they committed the crime, showed that they were greedy.
Lawyer for both accused Maxwell Tshikutsi argued that the pair were still young and first time offenders, among other factors, and should be given a non-custodial sentence in the form of a fine or community service.
“They are primary care-givers for their families, married with two kids each, who are still minors,” argued Tshikutsi.
Tshikutsi also argued the fact that R2.7 million was recovered, no harm was inflicted on any person and that no weapon was used in the offence should motivate for the sentence to be lowered.
He also said that Luvhimbi was willing to pay a fine of R10 000 through his uncle, who is a tenderpreneur based in Johannesburg.
The court also heard they had been employed by Fidelity Group since 2013 in the guarding section, earning a minimum salary of between R3000 – R3500 per month.
Luvhimbi and Maluleke were then promoted in 2017 and 2018, respectively, to the cash-in-transit division where each earned R16 000 a month. On days when the duo would have worked overtime including holidays, the pay would amount to R20 000 each.
As a result of the disciplinary hearing that took place on March 27 at the holding cells of their former employer in Louis Trichardt, the two were then dismissed from their duties without notice and collection of any outstanding money owed to them. – Mukurukuru Media