South Africa: Asset Forfeiture Unit Returns Over R900,000 to Victims of Late Estate Fraud

Two victims of fraud, theft and money laundering, whose inheritance was unlawfully syphoned by an official of King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Municipality, have finally received R911 000 of their late father's pension payout.

This is thanks to the restorative justice process, which stems from preservation and forfeiture orders, in terms of the provisions of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which the Mthatha High Court granted in favour of the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

This follows recovery applications by the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

"The father of the two victims, who cannot be named for fear of the late estate beneficiaries becoming targets to other criminals again, was working for KSD Municipality when he passed away in February 2019," the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

The NPA explained that the late father was a member of the Eastern Cape Group Municipal Pension and Gratuity Fund and Umtata Provident Fund.

However, when the legitimate beneficiaries of the late estate discovered that they had received a small amount than they were entitled to, they went to the municipality to lodge a complaint.

"An enquiry established that Nomvuyiseko Roselina Ntluzo, unknown to the legal beneficiaries, had been fraudulently included as one of the beneficiaries."

According to the NPA, payments of R750 000 and R156 000 had already been made to Ntluzo's bank accounts when the anomaly was picked up.

In addition, Ntluzo, who was an official at KSD Municipality had already made an internal transfer debit of R30 000 into a bank account of Thembekile Mapolisa.

"With the cooperation of the police, the Financial Intelligence Centre and Capitec Bank, the sum of R907 000 held in the two bank accounts was temporarily frozen, and AFU obtained the two orders to make sure that the funds are reimbursed to the legal beneficiaries and that crime does not pay."

The NPA said the R911 000 paid to the victims is the frozen amounts plus interest that accumulated since July 2019.

KSD Municipality Human Resources Principal Clerk and trustee of the pension fund, Nosiphiwo Mkhala and Ntluzo, have since been charged with fraud, theft and money laundering.

Their trial is due in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 17 June 2021.

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