The Mpumalanga master of the high court and her boyfriend who were arrested in connection with defrauding the public of money from deceased estates amounting to R1.7m have been remanded in custody.
Bina Mfandifuna Masuku,44, who is attached to the department of justice as master of the high court, was arrested on Thursday by the Hawks. Her boyfriend Elvis Kgosiemang,35, was arrested on Friday.
They were both charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering while Masuku was separately charged with contravention of the Immigration Act after it was found that she is actually not a South African national.
They were not asked to plead on their charges when they appeared in the Nelspruit magistrate's court on Monday.
Hawks spokesperson Capt Deneo Sekgotodi told Sowetan that Masuku would deal with deceased estate cases of members of the public and refer them to Kgosiemang who masqueraded as a lawyer and ripped off the families.
“The modus operandi of the suspects was that the master of the high court [Masuku] would deal with cases of the public and she would then refer the cases to the boyfriend [Kgosiemang] who called himself a lawyer to the victims. Some of the victims didn’t receive their inheritance and some got a small amount of money.
"The money transferred to the banks of the suspects amounts to about R1.7-million and more victims are still coming in,” said Sekgotodi.
“During the investigation we worked with the department of home affairs who helped us to find out that the master of the high court is not a South African citizen but a Malawian national. Home affairs found out that the master of the high court’s ID book was got fraudulently, hence it was revoked,” said Sekgotodi.
The two are expected to formally apply for bail on Wednesday as their legal representative asked for a postponement to prepare for bail application.