Money scandal rocks centre for orphans

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

People in the mining town of Barberton in Mpumalangaare in shock after the treasurer of a centre for orphans "shot and killed" himself following police investigations into the mismanagement of funds.

Pieter Bodenstein, treasurer of embattled Thembanani, was found dead in his one-roomed house on Saturday morning.

Bodenstein, who lived alone, allegedly shot himself in the mouth. His firearm was found next to his body.

Bodenstein, in his 60's, was embroiled in a money-swindling scandal that attracted the attention of Mpumalanga police organised crime unit detectives.

Captain Leonard Hlathi and investigating officer Jerry Maphanga said detectives visited Bodenstein last Wednesday and confiscated a cheque book and other financial documents related to Thembanani.

Bodenstein allegedly told police that he had written personal cheques for some of the institution's officials but that they were loans.

According to the police, Bodenstein told them at the time: "I was following instructions from certain senior committee members. Some of the money was returned, but some of it is still outstanding."

Duduzule Mathebula, 33, Thembanani's community liaison officer, confessed to police that Bodenstein had rubber stamped documents because of his position.

Mathebula was also accused of securing a loan of about R5000 from Bodenstein to pay for her father's funeral last year.

Police arrested her on the basis that the money was for orphans and not funerals.

She was charged with theft and appeared in the Barberton magistrates' court last Thursday. She was granted R500 bail and will appear again on May 22.