Second suspect accused of stealing funds from EC education dept arrested

Image: iStock.

R3,1 million was allegedly transferred into the syndicate’s various bank accounts from 14 fraudulent transactions to local schools which were listed as beneficiaries.

A second suspect was arrested last week following an investigation into alleged fraudulent transactions at the Eastern Cape’s department of education amounting to approximately R3 million.

A fraud case was reportedly registered against Moses Luthuli, 56, and Owen James, 41, at the Zwelitsha Police Station in 2010, and was subsequently transferred to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation.

Hawks spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha said it was discovered that the pair, who were contracted as service providers to the department, formed part of a syndicate that allegedly attached key loggers to the computers of the department’s finance section and retrieved usernames and passwords.

Ramovha said about R3,1 million was then transferred into the syndicate’s various bank accounts from 14 fraudulent transactions that were initially paid to four local schools which were listed as beneficiaries.

“Hawks’ investigation revealed that these payments were never authorized by the department which necessitated a closer look at service providers who had access to the department’s IT infrastructure,” he said in a statement.

The captain said James was the first to be arrested in this case on 9 February 2020, when the investigating team tracked him to his hideout in Turffontein, Johannesburg, followed by Luthuli who was apprehended in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, 22 May 2020.

“James has already made several court appearances in the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court, he remains in custody and is expected back in court on 3 June 2020 for the continuation of his bail application.

“Luthuli was however granted R2,000 bail and is expected back in court on 23 July 2020. Additional suspects implicated in this case will soon be arrested,” Ramovha said.

(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)

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