Four suspects, including two company directors, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of corruption, fraud, and racketeering.
This after they allegedly used counterfeit bank guarantees to steal more than R200 million in fuel.
Pragasen Reddy (40), Siviwe Mafanya (55), Sibusiso Khumalo (48), and Douglas Rikhotso (41) were arrested by members of the Falcons on Wednesday and immediately taken to court, where they were each released on R15 000 bail. They also had to hand over their passports.
A warrant for the arrest of two more suspects was issued, but could not be served on them because one is in quarantine due to Covid-19 and the other one lives in Cape Town. However, law enforcement is already taking steps to ensure that these suspects appear in court as soon as possible.
“It is alleged that between January and June 2011, a former manager of the FNB branch in Hyde Park issued guarantees in favor of Lavela Petroleum Pty Ltd and Imvuselelo Petroleum and Gas to increase their credit facilities to purchase fuel from Sasol, Says Brig. Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi. “However, the relevant bank manager did not have the necessary authority to issue guarantees on behalf of the bank.”
According to the Falcons’ investigation, the bank manager received bribes for this.
“When FNB realized that the guarantees had been forged, the bank consequently refused to pay R279 million for the purchase of the fuel to Sasol,” says Mulaudzi.
Three charges of racketeering, eight of fraud and two of corruption are now facing the suspects. They are due to appear in court again on October 1.