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Tongaat Hulett seven, including ex-CEO, granted R30k bail each in R1.5bn fraud case

Orrin Singh Reporter
Peter Staude, Murray Munro, Michael Deighton, Rory Wilkinson, Kamlasagrie Singh, Samantha Shula, and Gavin Kruger in the dock at the Durban specialised commercial crimes court on Thursday during their fraud matter.
Peter Staude, Murray Munro, Michael Deighton, Rory Wilkinson, Kamlasagrie Singh, Samantha Shula, and Gavin Kruger in the dock at the Durban specialised commercial crimes court on Thursday during their fraud matter.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Six former senior employees of sugar producer Tongaat Hulett Ltd (THL) and the company's former auditor, who have been implicated in a R1.5bn fraud case, were granted bail in the Durban specialised commercial crimes court on Thursday.

Peter Staude, 68, Murray Munro, 55, Michael Deighton, 57, Rory Wilkinson, 50, Kamlasagrie Singh, 56, Samantha Shula, 50, and Gavin Kruger, 56, were granted bail of R30,000 each following their court appearance.

They face various counts of fraud and racketeering charges related to alleged corruption and mismanagement of funds of Tongaat Hulett Developments (THD) — a subsidiary property company of the Tongaat Hulett Group that facilitated investment in KwaZulu-Natal from land conversion activities across a variety of sectors.

Former Tongaat Hulett CEO Peter Staude, right, leaving the Durban magistrate's court on Thursday, where he has been implicated in a R1.5bn fraud matter.
Former Tongaat Hulett CEO Peter Staude, right, leaving the Durban magistrate's court on Thursday, where he has been implicated in a R1.5bn fraud matter.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

According to the charge sheet, between March 2015 and September 2018 all seven accused acted in common purpose and allegedly backdated land sale agreements for THD.

This followed a damning 2019 PwC forensic investigation, initiated by current CEO John Hudson, which fingered the accused as being involved in inflating the group’s profits.

All of the accused held senior positions within the Tongaat Hulett Group, specifically within THD.

Staude, was former CEO of Tongaat Hulett as well a director of THD, Munro the CFO of Tongaat Hulett as well as a director of THD, Deighton was MD of THD, Wilkinson, head of portfolio strategy of THD, Singh, legal executive of THD, Shula, financial executive of THD and Kruger was the auditor and the engagement partner at Deloitte and Touche responsible for the annual statutory external audits of THL and THD.

During proceedings the state did not oppose bail but outlined strict bail conditions which were agreed to by the accused.

Magistrate Garth Davis ordered the accused to hand over their passports by Friday.

They cannot apply for another passport. The accused are not to leave the province without permission from the investigating officer or branch commander, 48 hours before their departure. They will need to further provide an itinerary of their travel.”

The case was postponed to April 11, when it is expected to resume in the high court.

TimesLIVE


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