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Some progress made in bringing culprits to trial, but still only 50% conviction rate


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Some progress made in bringing culprits to trial, but still only 50% conviction rate

Image of Godfrey Lebeya
Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya

6th December 2023

By: News24Wire


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The Fusion Centre has made some strides in fighting Covid-19-related corruption, although it only managed to secure convictions for less than half of the cases it has probed. 

On Wednesday, the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, gave an update on some of the centre's successes since its establishment in May 2020.


The centre, which consists of investigators from the National Prosecuting Authority, its Asset Forfeiture Unit, the South African Revenue Service, the Special Investigating Unit, the Hawks, the police's detectives and Crime Intelligence unit, the national intelligence coordinating committee and the State Security Agency, was established as a multidisciplinary and collaborative effort by all the corruption-fighting agencies that are actively involved in the prevention and combating of corruption.

The operationalisation of the Fusion Centre coincided with the need to identify and stem the government's misappropriation of funds for social and economic relief during Covid-19.


Lebeya didn't shy away from the fact that the cases the centre handled involved complex commercial crimes, which he said were run by networks of organised criminal syndicates.

According to Lebeya, the centre investigated 556 cases and incidents of fraud, maladministration, tax evasion and corruption involving 168 accused.

The centre secured convictions in less than 50% of the cases that went to court for prosecution.

According to Lebeya, of the 168 accused, 51 people and 43 entities were convicted. The convictions were for various crimes, including corruption, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

He said 48 cases were still in court.

Lebeya added:

The investigators from the Fusion Centre had to trace the networks and the syndicates to arrive at conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. The first case involved an accountant who defrauded the TERS (Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme) of over R11-million by claiming relief funds on behalf of several companies without their knowledge.

He said investigators also uncovered a network of 17 people, 26 entities, 53 bank accounts and 983 transactions as part of nebulous money flows, set in motion by the accountant. Some of the funds were used to buy a house and car, he added.

He said the accountant, Lindelani Bert Gumede, was arrested and convicted of fraud, theft and money laundering. 

The second success case also involved an accountant who, using the names of six companies, defrauded the TERS scheme of R884 308.06.

According to Lebeya, the centre's analysis showed that the accountant was the controlling mind behind the companies that claimed the funds. He said R482 258.71 was recovered in an FNB account registered in the name of the accountant.

He agreed to refund the money derived from defrauding the scheme.

The third case, which is still pending, involves an Eastern Cape Taxi Association that allegedly fraudulently claimed R220-million from the TERS scheme, using 66 accounts, Lebeya said.


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