Muvhango fraudster avoids jail time

Duma Ndlovu
Duma Ndlovu

A former Muvhango accountant charged with defrauding the soapie of more than R1-million has been ordered to pay back the money.

Phumlani Mdluli, 35, managed to evade jail time in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, where he appeared for sentencing yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to 122 counts of fraud brought by Duma Ndlovu's soapie following a forensic investigation into the funds of the production company responsible for the popular SABC2 soapie, Word of Mouth.

The lanky fraudster appeared relieved when his sentence was handed down.

Speaking through his lawyer, Mdluli said he was a father of five and that his wife was heavily pregnant with his sixth child.

Magistrate Bernitta Oswell sentenced him to eight years, suspended for five years, with conditions that he pay back the money to Word of Mouth.

"You agree to pay R62000 into the complaint's account quarterly starting from March," Oswell said.

Mdluli is believed to have created false clients and suppliers or used the names of former Muvhango actors and added them onto the payroll but paid the money into his account. He stole R1240917 in total.

In mitigation, Mdluli said he was now self-employed in his business, Pulse Events, and pays maintenance for all his kids.

Muvhango spokeswoman Amanda Ngudle said: "We are happy that justice has been served. We hope that the fine, although nothing close to what we were expecting, sends out a message to anyone who still believes that crime pays."