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Thu Jun 30 03:20:50 CAT 2016

Three jailed for defrauding Northern Cape health department of R1.4m

TMG Digital | 19 March, 2016 15:23
Mixed denomination rand currency banknotes.
Image by: Getty Images

Three men have been jailed after being convicted in the Kimberley Regional Court for defrauding the Northern Cape Department of Health of more than R1.4m through electronic transfers.

The fraudulent transactions‚ committed from June 21 2011 to July 11 2011‚ were uncovered when a company queried none payment of services rendered to the health department.

“Records revealed that the banking details of the company were changed to a different bank account within which payments were already done. Two separate transaction of R 882‚887 and R556‚223 were paid to the fraudulent account in two consecutive days.

“The money was further transferred from personal to business account and then distributed to other additional accounts‚” said Northern Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Philani Nkwalase.

“A case of fraud was investigated against the account holder who received the undue payment and further transferred the money to a business entity bank account. The 33-year-old Selaotse Morata was arrested as the recipient of the undue payment who further transferred the money to his business and other accounts.

“Tumelo Joel Palo (35)‚ Mohlonoa Christian Palo (33) and Macdonald Mothusi Mocumi (38‚ deceased) were the other additional account holders who were arrested as recipients of shares from the R1.4 million. The suspects made various withdrawals and there are no tangible assets bought that could be repossessed‚” Lt Nkwalase said.

They first appeared before Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on December 20 2012 on nine criminal charges that varied between theft and money laundering. They were granted bail and the case had been ongoing ever since‚ he added.

“It was established throughout the investigation and court process that security access codes of the Department’s employees on leave were used in their absence. The unknown insider altered banking details of the company through BAS financial system. The arrested suspects never disclosed how they acquired the alleged inside help to alter banking details from BAS system.”

None of the department’s employees were directly linked to the fraudulent incident and it remained a mystery how they had obtained internal assistance‚ Lt Nkwalase said.

They were found guilty on all nine charges and Selaotse Morata was sentenced to five years on each of the two counts of theft and three years on each of the five counts of money laundering. He will effectively serve 10 years in prison as the sentences will run concurrently.

Christian Palo was sentenced to five years for theft‚ three years on each of the three counts of money laundering and will effectively serve five years in jail.

Tumelo Joel Palo was sentenced to three years on each of the two counts of money laundering and he will serve three years behind bars.

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