Former KwaZulu-Natal Cogta employees get 15 years for R7.5m fraud

Two former Cogta employees received prison sentences after fraudulently transferring funds meant for development at a local community centre to an account held by their accomplice.
Two former Cogta employees received prison sentences after fraudulently transferring funds meant for development at a local community centre to an account held by their accomplice.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Two former KwaZulu-Natal department of corporate governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) employees have been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for fraud amounting to R7.5-million.

Nokwazi Chule, 32, and Hlengiwe Hlela, 34, appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday. Magistrate Garth Davis sentenced both women to 15 years for fraud and 10 years for the contravention of Section 4 (B) of the Prevention of organised crimes act.

“Both these sentences will run concurrently,” said Davis.

Chule and Hlela were arrested by the Hawks’ Pietermaritzburg Serious Commercial Crime Investigating Unit in 2015 along with their accomplice Max Dhladhla, who was a businessman.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Hawks said the women transferred R7.5m into a bank account held by Imvusa Trading, where Dhladhla was a sole signatory.

“These funds were meant for development at a local community centre in Bulwer, which falls under Ingwe Municipality, but ended up in Dhladhla’s account, where a series of withdrawals were made within a short period of time,” the statement read.

Dhladhla was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment earlier this year.

Cogta said the women were part of its supply chain management unit.

“The long sentences for the department's two former officials send a strong message that embezzlement of public funds cannot be tolerated,” said KZN acting MEC for Cogta, Peggy Nkonyeni.


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