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Couple plead guilty to defrauding KZN Blind and Deaf Society of R13.7m

Orrin Singh Reporter
The couple pleaded guilty in the Durban specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday. Stock photo.
The couple pleaded guilty in the Durban specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday. Stock photo.

A Durban couple pleaded guilty in the specialised commercial crimes court this week to stealing R13.7m from the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society between 2012 and 2019. 

Ruvanya Ramiah, 31, a former employee of the society, and her husband Ayush Rambally, 32, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft respectively on Tuesday.

Ramiah pleaded guilty to 354 counts of fraud amounting to more than R12m, while Rambally pleaded guilty to 79 counts of theft amounting to about R1.7m.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Kara, Ramiah stated she was employed as a finance officer at the society from March 2012 to February 2019. Her duties included salary payments and general payments and she had access to and control of the society’s banking accounts.

She committed fraud by paying herself inflated salaries twice and sometimes more in the same month. She also created false payments to suppliers and fabricated evidence to support those payments. The money was going into her bank account and that of her husband.

In his plea, Rambally said he took the money knowing he was not entitled to it as he was neither an employee nor a creditor of the society.

“He admitted to being aware that his actions were unlawful and intended to deprive the society of funds which he would use for his and his wife’s purposes,” said Kara. 

The matter was remanded to August 4 for pre-sentencing and correctional supervision reports.

The pair will remain in custody as they were previously denied bail.



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