2 in court after being on the run for allegedly defrauding KZN Blind and Deaf Society of R12m

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Ruvanya Ramiah, 30, and Ayush Rambally, 31, appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.
Ruvanya Ramiah, 30, and Ayush Rambally, 31, appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.
PHOTO: GroundUp, File
  • Two people have been arrested for allegedly robbing the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society.
  • The accused allegedly transferred more than R12 million into personal bank accounts.
  • They have been on the run since the charges were laid in 2019.

After almost three years on the run, two people appeared in court on Tuesday for allegedly defrauding the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society out of around R12 million.

Ruvanya Ramiah, 30, and Ayush Rambally, 31, appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said:

It is alleged that they stole this money from the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society from March 2012 to December 2018, while Ramiah was employed there.

The fraud was discovered in January 2018, when R100 000 went missing from the organisation's account and illegal transactions from an online banking facility were uncovered, The Witness reported.

Ramiah reportedly had access to four of the organisation's bank accounts and had allegedly been transferring funds into her personal accounts since 2013.

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At the time, Ramiah served as the financial officer, society vice-president Lalit Mehta told News24.

He added that the misappropriated funds had largely been donations to the society that were earmarked for outreach programmes to assist blind and deaf children.

After the fraud was discovered, then-director of the society Shamilla Surjoo was fired, The Witness also reported.

The organisation reportedly undertook disciplinary proceedings against Surjoo for "gross negligence" after she reportedly failed to interrogate payrolls and supervise the financial officer. Surjoo was not implicated in the fraud.

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Mehta told News24 that charges were laid in 2019.

The accused were arrested in Estcourt after evading authorities for some time, Ramkisson-Kara added.

The matter returns to court on 28 April 2022 for a bail application.

Mehta said the society would support the prosecution in opposing bail.

"We want justice to be carried out," he added.


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