The Port Elizabeth Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced a former Absa customer services clerk on Wednesday to 10 years in prison for fraud amounting to just over R1.1 million.
According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani, the 33-year-old Siphokazi Katyu, who was stationed at the Kwadwesi branch in Port Elizabeth, pleaded guilty.
On 13 November 2015, Katyu unlawfully changed the banking details of a Flexi savings account which belonged to an Absa client. She changed the physical address and the cellphone number.
“Furthermore, she issued a debit card on the client’s portfolio and linked the debit card to [the Flexi account] and 32-day notice and money market accounts which did not belong to the client. She also created two variable payment instructions to three FNB accounts,” Ngcakani said.
Between 13 November 2015 and 23 November 2015, the debit card was used at five ATMs in Port Elizabeth to transfer R1 131 220 from the money market account to the Flexi account.
The Absa client was defrauded of R1 164 057.20 from November to December 2015.
“It was established in court that the Absa client had not requested a change of address and contact number. Furthermore, the client had not requested that a debit card be issued on her Flexi account, nor did she request for it be linked to any other account. Importantly, the client was in Johannesburg when the transfers were made in Port Elizabeth.”
Senior state advocate, Leigh-Anne Pillay-Selahle, argued in court that Katyu committed the offence while she occupied a position of trust and that her actions put the livelihoods of her employer, Absa, and its client at risk.
“The offence was carefully contrived and was committed in a planned and deliberate manner with ample time for reflection. The accused faced an overwhelming case with a paper trail that pointed to her as well as video footage that clearly showed her involvement. She had no choice but to plead guilty,” said Pillay-Selahle.