Fraudster sentenced for fraud and theft of community funds

Fraudster sentenced for fraud and theft of community funds
Fraudster sentenced for fraud and theft of community funds. Image source: Pixabay

The Mthatha based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team of the Hawks collectively with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) clinched the conviction and sentencing of Nompumelelo Goqwana (50) by the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 12 September 2023 for charges of fraud and theft. However, the charges against her co-accused, Nkosithandile Bakana Gowana (36) and Mthandeni Mnukwa (56) who passed on in 2022 were withdrawn.

In 2007, the community of Esiphaqeni at Flagstaff was awarded with the installation of Vodacom network pole. The reports divulged that community nominated three individuals to open a bank account and become signatories for Vodacom to be able to deposit cash as part of its rental to the community. The bank account was controlled by those three signatories who were responsible for the management of funds.

In 2018, the accused forcefully took over from the previous authorised signatories by nominating themselves as new signatories. Furthermore, it was discovered later that the trio misappropriated the Esiphaqeni community funds and used cash to their own benefit without the authorisation of the elected committee. However, the reports revealed that the total money that was misappropriated amounts to R350 000-00 jointly then the matter was reported to the Hawks for further investigation.

The accused were arrested on 05 August 2020 and appeared before the Flagstaff Regional Court on the same day. They were later released on R5000-00 bail each. They made numerous court appearances until the two passed on and Goqwana pleaded guilty on charges of theft for an actual prejudiced amount of R62 000-00.

Goqwana was sentenced to pay a fine of R15 000-00 or four (4) years direct imprisonment of which was wholly suspended for period of three (3) years on condition that she does not commit similar offence during the period of suspension.

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