South Africa

Couple defrauds KZN Blind and Deaf Society out of R13m

On Thursday, 23 June, Ruvanya Ramiah and Ayush Rambally pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft amounting to R13 million at KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society. The couple pleaded guilty at the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

KZN spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said that Ramiah pleaded guilty to 345 charges of fraud amounting to over R12 million. Rambally on the other hand pleaded guilty to 79 charges of theft; this amounted to R1.7 million.

How did the duo commit the crime?

From March 2012 to February 2019, Ramiah was the finance officer at the KZN Blind and Deaf Society. During these few years, she is said to have abused her position at the Society.

Ramkisson-Kara explained that Ramiah’s duties included salary and general payments. Therefore, not only did she have access to the Society’s bank accounts but she also had control of them.

Ramiah admitted to paying inflated salaries to herself multiple times in a month. She also admitted to creating false payments to suppliers and further concocted evidence in order to support the false payments.

The money that Ramiah stole from the KZN Blind and Deaf Society was transferred into her own bank account as well as her husband, Rambally’s account.

While in court, Rambally confessed to taking the money admitting that he knew he was not entitled to it as he was not employed by the KZN Blind and Deaf Society.

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

said Ramkisson-Kara.

The couple was denied bail and will remain in custody. The matter has been remanded to 4 August 2022 for correctional supervision reports and pre-sentencing, reports The Citizen.

Man, 60, arrested for R2.3 million fraud granted R5k bail

In other fraud-related news, it was previously reported that fraud-accused Gert Wessel van der Westhuizen has been released on R5 000 bail by the Secunda Regional Court. Van der Westhuizen was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team in Secunda.

The 60-year-old was charged with fraud amounting to more than R2.3 million. Mpumalanga Spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said that a complainant allegedly invested R1.2 million from advice offered by Van der Westhuizen. This happened on 9 October 2017.

Sekgotodi further explained that following an investigation, it was discovered Extreme Business Solutions was the account holder. It was also discovered that Van der Westhuizen was the authorised representative primary user for the FNB online banking. Read the full story here.

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