- The case against Absa IT specialist Xolela Masebeni has been struck off the roll after a death certificate was presented in court
- The deceased's two co-accused, Gershom Matomane and his widow Athembile Mpani, appeared in court for the first time together
- The matter was postponed until May on the behest of the State for further investigations, with several more arrests expected
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JOHANNESBURG - The highly-publicised Absa fraud case against slain specialist engineer Xolela Masebeni, accused of stealing R103 million from the bank, was struck off the roll in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg on Monday.
The move by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) comes after a death certificate proving that Masebeni was killed after being shot at his home in Unathi Mkefa in Ezibeleni, Eastern Cape, as he sat with friends last month was shown in court.
Athembile Mpani, Masebeni's 20-year-old widow, and another co-accused Gershom Matomane appeared in court together for the first time after the latter was arrested in Bellville on similar charges in a matter involving Capitec Bank.
In addition to theft and violating the POCA act, the pair face fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly embezzling the funds between September and December 2021, TimesLIVE reported.
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NPA Gauteng regional communications manager Phindi Mjonondwane said more arrests are expected as investigations into the matter proceed.
"The NPA has so far recovered R66 million of the R103 million. Further, three vehicles, allegedly purchased using the stolen money, are in the process of being impounded. More arrests are imminent as investigations continue. The case was postponed to 12 May," said Mjonondwane.
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At their formal bail application, the court heard that Masebeni fraudulently transferred more than R100 million into several bank accounts over four months in 2021.
The case came into the spotlight after a complaint that the funds were taken from an account that Absa's forensic division could not locate an instruction for a debit to be executed on.
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Meanwhile, additional reporting by Briefly News suggested that a third person was arrested by the Hawks for allegedly having a hand in defrauding Absa amid his appearance in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday, 1 February.
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According to News24, Matomane, 29, was in court to face similar charges after allegedly stealing R3.4 million from Capitec Bank. It's thought he was also in cahoots with Masebani, reportedly a relative of his, to steal the large sum of money from Absa, where the former worked as a specialist engineer.
"Matomane allegedly received R74 million of the money stolen by Masebani, who made transfers to six accounts, including one belonging to a company linked to the former," said Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu.
Source: Briefly News