Suspects nabbed for allegedly defrauding Sasol of R279m

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Four people, including two companies appeared before the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on charges of racketeering, corruption and fraud.

They allegedly defrauded Sasol of R279 million by using invalid bank guarantees.

The bank guarantees were reported to be obtained by bribing a now former FNB branch manager who wasn’t authorised to provide them.

According to the police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, Pragasen Reddy, 40; Siviwe Mafanya, 55; Sibusiso Khumalo, 48; and Douglas Rikhotso, 41; were arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit on Wednesday. They were taken directly to court, where they were each granted R15,000 bail.

The accused were also ordered to hand over their passports.

Two other suspects could not appear in court, one due to Covid-19 quarantine restrictions and the other resides in Cape Town but, they are putting efforts to secure the suspect’s court appearance in Johannesburg.

Mulaudzi said: “The suspect who is currently under quarantine allegedly formed a joint venture between Lavela Petroleum, Imvuselelo Petroleum and Gas and his own company.

“He did not have any trading deal with Sasol. He allegedly facilitated the fabrication of false bank guarantees by Reddy for the three entities and made payments in the form of kickbacks to the bank manager.”

Sasol had a loss of R279-million loss as FNB discovered that the guarantees were falsified and refused to honour them.

The accused are facing three charges of racketeering, eight charges of fraud and two of corruption. They are to appear in the same court on October 1.

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