Three more arrested in connection with R103m Absa fraud case

Three people are set to appear at the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court on Tuesday in connection with the R103m Absa fraud case. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/OLIVIER LE MOAL

Three more people are set to appear in the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court sitting in Palm Ridge on Tuesday in connection with R103m stolen from Absa between September and December 2021.

The alleged mastermind in the crime, Xolela Masebeni, an IT specialist at Absa who allegedly siphoned funds from bank accounts, was shot dead in the Eastern Cape in February. He was out on bail at the time.

An investigation revealed that Masebeni accessed a corporate business account and transferred the funds.

Masebeni was arrested by the Hawks in Komani on January 19 and appeared in the Queenstown magistrate’s court the next day. At the time, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it had managed to recover R66m.

The three who will be in court on Tuesday — Sicelimpilo Sichwe, Phaphamani Sichwe and Sicelo Ndebele — were arrested after analysis of bank statements, which showed that they were recipients of a huge sum of money, from one of the accused, Melmoth-based traditional healer Khumbulani Elvis Ntombela.

The trio were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal and made their first court appearance at the Durban central magistrate’s court where they were remanded in custody for the matter to be transferred to the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court.

The R103m worth of fraudulent transactions were uncovered by Absa’s forensic division, which reported the matter to the police.

Masebeni’s 20-year-old wife Athembile Mpani and the other accused are alleged to have received large sums of the stolen funds.

TimesLIVE

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