MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH: Gang sentenced to Life Imprisonment & 3 Other Suspects Arrested for Corruption at Ethekhwini Municipality
Media Statement from Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (HAWKS)
South African Police Service
In what is believed to be the first in the country, the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court has written an epitaph to eight (8) accused’s criminal careers yesterday, finding them guilty of 11 bank robberies and a pattern of racketeering activities and other 20 serious related charges, and sentenced them to life in prison.
The eight suspects, were part of a dangerous gun
totting syndicate that terrorised Mpumalanga and Gauteng between 2013 and 2014, robbing 11 banks.
In January 2014, the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime received a docket analysis of the syndicate from the Hawks’ analysis center. Hardly a month, the Hawks team made a breakthrough and secured the attendance of the seven suspects at who were arrested for robbery of a chain store in Empangeni, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
In May and September of the same year (2014), a further four suspects were arrested in Johannesburg and Klerksdorp respectively.
At the start of the trial in June 2016, one of the suspects, Jackson Msiza (54) decided to plead guilty and was sentenced to twenty (20) years in imprisonment, whilst three other accused, withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.
After a two-year trial, the remaining eight suspects, Sikhumbuzo Sibanda (45), Strike Ndebele (48), Themba Ndlovu (45), Xolani Nxumalo (40), Bafana Ntuli (45),and Nkosana Nkomo (28), Vusi Lucky Dube (42) Mduduzi Makhubu (38), were found guilty on two counts of racketeering in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), robberies with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms, and malicious damage to property. The first six are Zimbabweans while the last two are South Africans making the Organised criminal group a multinational one,
They were all sentenced to a combined 914 years for robberies with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms, and malicious damage to property. Remarkably, the Judge slapped them with further life sentences each on two counts of a pattern of racketeering activities.
In a separate case, the Hawks have arrested three other suspects a further three suspects for fraud and corruption activities at the Ethekhwini Municipality.
The three, Xolani Vilana (40) an Administration Manager Safer City at Ethekhwini Municipality, Dumisani Nxumalo (27) an Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) ghost worker and Robert Nkosi (42) an EPWP recruiter were arrested by the Hawks National Clean Audit Task Team (NCATT) and appeared the same day, Thursday, at Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for fraud and money laundering.
The trio are joining three other suspects Andile Shangase (37) from EThekwini Municipality, his bother Bongani Shangase (45) and Musawenkosi Enock Mthethwa (33) who were arrested last year in December by the same team for fraud and theft.
It is alleged that officials at the Municipality and their runners conspired and misrepresented members of the public in 2017 that they had secured an EPWP tender at the municipality and promised them jobs. Individuals were recruited and instructed to open bank accounts which were kept by the suspects. All the so-called workers were paid once-off stipends after the money was deposited into their accounts.
Vilana was granted of R5000 bail with the condition that he must be removed from his current office whilst Nkosi and Nxumalo were granted R3000 bail each. All six suspects are expected to appear at the same court on 21st February 2019. Investigations continue.
Lastly, the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court convicted and sentenced Koobashen Naicker (48), a lawyer, for fraud.
In 2006 the law society opened a case of fraud on behalf of a victim who was involved in a car accident. The victim had lodged to the Road Accident Fund (RAF) through Koobashen Naicker Attorneys and Associates.
RAF paid almost R999 977. 00 to Koobashen Naicker Attorneys and Associates’ Trust fund in 2008. Instead of paying the amount to the client, the he pocketed the money and as a result a case of fraud was opened against him.
The Investigations revealed that Naicker misused R5,834,149.00 from the Trust Fund. On 25 November 2016, Naicker was arrested and charged with 294 counts of fraud. He appeared in court several times until he was convicted and sentenced on 18 January 2019. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment which was wholly suspended on condition that he must serve three years correctional supervision. The loss was paid back to the victim by the law society from the Fidelity fund.
The National Head of the Directorate, Lieutenant General Lebeya, commended the three investigation teams for the work well done. “The investigation of these types of syndicated offences are mostly complex. They require commitment and team work by various role players including the prosecutors and intelligence officers. The life sentences for a pattern of racketeering offences are welcomed as they send a clear message. The criminals, as declared by court, will not commit another bank robbery. That is also a way of preventing crime. The POCA legislation provides for these heavy sentences and will be vigorously applied.”
Media Enquiries: Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi - 0823732408