Six alleged fuel fraudsters arrested

Image: SUHAIB SALEM

Belta Services, a company owned by Chief Livhuwani Matsila, has incurred losses amounting to R1,8m in a space of 10 months.

This was as a result of a fuel card fraud. Two employees of the company and four petrol attendants have since been arrested in connection with the fraudulent activity.

The company is responsible for doing maintenance work in various hospitals in the province. Matsila, who bought the company in July last year, said he discovered the fraudulent activities soon after taking over.

He said he alerted the Hawks and that an investigation ensued, leading to the arrest of two of the employees at the company and four petrol attendants at a petrol station in Siloam, Nzhelele, outside Louis Trichardt.

The group was arrested on Friday and will appear in the Dzanani Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of fraud and corruption.

According to Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke, it was discovered that the arrested people had connived to use the company's fuel cards to refuel cars belonging to the employees of the company.

The employees would also allegedly withdraw cash and bribe the attendants in the process, he said. “It is true that we have arrested six people, two of them being employees of a private company and the other four being petrol attendants at a filing station in Louis Trichardt,” said Maluleke.

He said the ages of the arrested people ranged between 24 and 37.

Matsila said he was happy with the developments and hoped that the arrest would send a strong message that he was intolerant to corruption.  “Those responsible for the fraudulent activities must face the full might of the law,” Matsila said yesterday.

He added that the company's finance manager and a fleet manager had been taken through disciplinary processes and were ultimately dismissed from work.

“I could not tolerate gross negligence that was happening at the company. It's sad that those people who have been arrested will lose their jobs because of greed but their conduct is unacceptable,” he said.

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