The Gqeberha Specialised Commercial Crime Court slammed Harold Gerald Henry (46) with 18 years’ jail term sentence with no option of a fine on 17 January 2024. Henry was arrested by the Gqeberha Serious Commercial Crime Investigation of the Hawks on 24 February 2023 for charges of theft.
During the period between March 2019 and December 2021, Henry in his capacity as the financial manager of Strathmore Farm Trust, misappropriated funds of the trust. He further transferred funds to his bank accounts, to insurance companies for his personal investments and to his next of kin as well via internet banking. These transactions were purported to be payments of creditors and wages for employees on the farm.
His fraudulent activities were uncovered when the creditors and employees reported non-payment which resulted in internal auditing processes which unearthed fictitious invoices. Henry made attempts to destroy evidence by interfering with computer data programming and storage system to avoid prosecution.
The matter was referred to the Hawks for further investigations which revealed that Henry prejudiced the trust funds to the value of more than R14 million during his period of employment. He was arrested on 24 February 2023 and made a short appearance in Addo Magistrate’s court.
The case against Henry was remanded to 03 March 2023 and referred to Kirkwood Magistrate’s court for a formal bail application where he was released on bail.
The matter was transferred to Gqeberha Specialised Commercial Crime Court and was remanded several times until his conviction on 30 August 2023 hence his sentencing on 17 January 2024.
Henry was given 18 years’ direct imprisonment sentence with no option of a fine and was further declared unfit to possess a firearm.
The Provincial Head Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya expressed his satisfaction for the retributive sentencing as it would send a stern warning to the would-be perpetrators of such offences.