BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IMPRISONMENT FOR DEFRAUDING ESKOM OVER R2.6 MILLION.

BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IMPRISONMENT FOR DEFRAUDING ESKOM OVER R2.6 MILLION.

The Nelspruit Commercial Crimes Court has sentenced a businessman Michael Chimanzi (57), to eight years imprisonment for defrauding Eskom over R2.6 million. Chimanzi was charged along with his two co-accused Nwabisa Ngxola and Cinderella Moropane, both of whom were employed by Eskom as Finance Clerks. The duo’s defence representation applied for the separation of trials which the court granted. The trio was convicted of fraud, theft, and money laundering, and the case against them was postponed to 02 May 2023, for sentencing proceedings in the same court.

The trio acted in common purpose and submitted fraudulent invoices to Eskom. Ngxola’s password and username were used to capture certain payments to Mandla Lines CC, which is a legitimate company registered in the name of Chimanzi. They shared the proceeds amongst themselves and the accused were arrested after the police received a tip-off.

Presenting the state’s case, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Billy Moalusi, led evidence of several witnesses which proved that the invoices were fraudulent. The supervisor of two Eskom officials testified about the extent of the damage caused to the business. Their evidence was supported by the owner of Mandla Lines who confirmed that they colluded and provided false invoices to Eskom.

Magistrate Sheila Msibi said, theft affects the economy. She took into consideration the accused personal circumstances, the seriousness of the offence he is convicted of and the interest of justice. She further took into consideration that Chimanzi had already spent 4 years in prison awaiting trial. She sentenced him to 8 years imprisonment suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of money laundering-related offences.

Fraud is a pandemic that engulfs our economy and is perpetrated by well-sophisticated people and should be stopped in its tracks, says DPP Nkebe Kanyane.

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