Absa IT heist: Ex-lover of the alleged mastermind arrested in court

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The late Xolela Masebeni and his wife Athembie Mpani.
The late Xolela Masebeni and his wife Athembie Mpani.
Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times
  • The ex-lover of Xolela Masebeni was arrested inside the Palm Ridge Specialised Crime Court.
  • Masebeni allegedly defrauded Absa bank of R103 million.
  • Authorities claim the arrested woman allegedly received R290 000 of the stolen money.

There was high drama in the Palm Ridge Specialised Crime Court on Thursday when the ex-girlfriend of slain Absa IT specialist, Xolela Masebeni, was arrested during the trial of Masebeni's widow.

The woman, who cannot be named, was taken into custody during the court appearance of Masebeni's widow, Athembile Mpani, and her co-accused, Khumbulani Elvis Ntombela and Gershom Matomane, who are facing charges of theft, fraud and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The woman is expected to appear in the same court on Friday.

The arrest follows that of Ntombela, who was apprehended on Tuesday in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, by the Hawks and officers from the Durban Central and Pinetown Tactical Response Team. 

NPA regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Masebeni's ex-lover allegedly received R290 000 of the looted R103 million Absa funds which Masebeni allegedly stole.

Ntombela is expected to bring his formal bail application next Wednesday.

Mpani is out on R50 000 bail, while Matomane was released on R30 000 bail.

Masebeni, who worked at the Absa offices in Sandton, allegedly transferred R103 million from the bank into six different bank accounts between September and December 2021.

Masebeni was out on R50 000 bail when he was gunned down in February outside his home in Unathi Mkefa, Ezibeleni, in the Eastern Cape.

Charges against Masebeni were later withdrawn after his death certificate was presented in court.

READ | Absa IT heist: Murdered specialist's girlfriend back in court to face music alone

Absa's forensic division uncovered the alleged fraudulent transactions. The bank reported the matter to law enforcement authorities. 

It is alleged that Masebeni accessed a Meridian system to debit the corporate business account. 

He was arrested by the Hawks in Queenstown on 19 January and appeared in the Queenstown Magistrate's Court the next day. 

The case was then transferred to the Palm Ridge Specialised Crime Court as the alleged crime happened in Sandton.

R66 million

The State has already managed to recover R66 million.

Mjonondwane promised that the State was in the process of seizing three vehicles, which were allegedly purchased using the defrauded money. 

It is alleged that, after R103 million was defrauded from Absa, a sum of R59 million was deposited into Matomane's bank account. 

Matomane has a pending case in Bellville, where he and five other people allegedly defrauded Capitec Bank of R3.4 million. 

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