R3 billion theft – 2 Additional arrests on former precious metals company employees

South African Police Service

R3 billion theft – 2 Additional arrests on former precious metals company employees
R3 billion theft - 2 Additional arrests on former precious metals company employees

Two additional accused, Samuel Waldron James Thomson (63) and Nicholas Johannes Van Vuuren (58) who are part of the seven accused; Michel Marten (62), Manyanca Vanessa Marten (47), Dirk Auverne Vorster (42), Adele Babs Vorster (41), Mahendra Bennideen (37), Dannisha Bennideen (37) and Ritesh Maharaj (41) who were arrested in October 2022 on charges of theft, fraud and money laundering.

It is alleged that the accused comprising of three couples whom the husbands and an individual worked at the chain company, Northern Spark Refinery (Pty) Ltd, Northern Spark Security (Pty) Ltd, and Northern Spark Investment (Pty) Ltd where Mr Vorster, Mr Marten and Mr Bennideen worked as finance officers.

It is re-counted that the above three accused allegedly stole and laundered the company’s money worth approximately R3 billion from the corporation’s account into their personal accounts, spouses’ accounts and into other company’s accounts that were not in business with Northern Spark (Pty) Ltd from the year 2016 until 2021.

The company conducted an internal investigation and later opened a case where the matter was transferred to the Johannesburg based Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation in February 2022 for further analysis.

Thomson and Van Vuuren handed themselves to the authorities on 6 December 2022 after a warrant for their arrest was issued.

It is alleged that Thomson was the security officer and Van Vuuren was the director of Esibonga and NL Traders Company.

The investigation revealed that between 2016 and 2021, the pair helped Voster, Marten and Mahendra to launder an amount of R1.3 billion from Northern Spark Refinery (Pty) Ltd, Northern Spark Security (Pty) Ltd, and Northern Spark Investment (Pty) Ltd into Esibonga and NL Traders company account which was further distributed among themselves for personal enrichment

The duo appeared at the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 6 December 2022 where Van Vuuren was released on R70 000 bail and Thomson was released on R30 000-00 bail.

The case was postponed to 19 January 2023 for a joint hearing.

The funds have not been recovered and the investigation is continuing.

SAPS Newsroom

SOURCESouth African Police Service