Man nabbed over R4m council cheques theft
POLICE in KwaZulu-Natal have made a major breakthrough after the arrest of a suspect in connection with the theft of municipal cheques totalling over R4-million.
The cheques were stolen from the Zululand district municipality.
The 35-year-old man, described as the mastermind behind the cheques theft, was arrested yesterday morning in a hotel apartment at KwaMbonambi in Richards Bay.
A team from the Durban Commercial Crimes Investigation Unit, led by Captain Muzi Buthelezi, has been following leads after six cheques amounting to R4-million were stolen from the municipality's offices in January.
Also in January, police arrested a teller at Absa Bank in Pinetown, following the cashing of a stolen cheque worth R690000.
The suspect allegedly went on a shopping spree buying expensive furniture and clothing and spent millions of rands entertaining different women in luxury hotels around the country.
The man is expected to appear in the Empangeni Magistrate's Court soon, where he will face fraud charges.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the man had fraudulently registered a company with a similar name to a company contracted by themunicipality.
"This legitimate company was at the time of the theft of the cheques entitled to receive payments from the municipality when the suspect collected the six cheques," he said.
Mdunge said two of the stolen cheques valued at R3.198-million were presented and cashed in Empangeni.
Municipal manager Johan de Klerk said they were very happy following the arrest.
He said the mayor, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, and himself appointed their investigators to probe the stolen cheques before the issue was handed over to the Hawks.
Mdunge said more arrests would follow.
Provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni commended the investigation team for its excellent work.