MTN accountant Brendan Ruth Moshabane in the dock for defrauding employer of millions

Hawks expect to make more arrests in the MTN fraud case as they believe the accountant didn't work alone.

 

The State is opposing a bail application of an MTN accountant who is accused of defrauding her employer of more than R23 million.

State prosecutor, Advocate Bongani Chauke stated on 25 April that the State had a watertight case against the accused, Branden Ruth Moshabane who appeared briefly in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

According to Chauke, the accused had committed a schedule 5 offence and was facing 16 counts of fraud. Moshabane had been employed at MTN headquarters in Fairland as an accountant since 2003.

Read Fraudsters who scammed victims of US$750 000 worth of gold denied bail

“The accused was in a position of trust,” said Chauke in his presentation to the court. “The company entrusted her with powers and authority to act on 76 bank accounts of the company.” He further stated that Moshabane misrepresented information to MTN that there were service providers to be paid for ad hoc services. Chauke revealed that the accused transferred money from MTN bank accounts into her own personal account, under the pretense that these were payments to MTN service providers. The prosecutor further mentioned that the State believed that the transactions took place between 2011 and earlier this year. The discrepancy was picked up by the Financial Intelligence Centre Board which then alerted MTN. Chauke also mentioned that the State believed the accused could have stolen more than R50 million. “This is an ongoing matter and the amount could increase to R52 million.”

The 42-year-old accused was arrested by the Hawks on 11 April at MTN headquarters.

In her affidavit, Moshabane stated that she would plead not guilty. Her legal representative, Piet du Plessis read out the affidavit and pointed out that the accused had no previous convictions or any current cases. He mentioned that Moshabane had five properties in her name, seven motor vehicles and several investments. In the affidavit, Moshabane also revealed that she was a director at a company. Du Plessis put it to the court that bail could be set between R50 000 and R100 000, with conditions that could include an order that none of the accused’s assets be disposed of.

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In response to the affidavit, Chauke questioned the genuineness and truthfulness of the accused. He put it to the court that Moshabane had intended to conceal some important information to the court, and mentioned that Moshabane was a director of about 10 companies and also didn’t disclose all her properties in the affidavit.

To this effect, Chauke said the State was opposing bail as the accused was facing 16 counts, each with a possible minimum sentence of 15 years. He added that if granted bail, the accused might try to evade justice. Chauke asked the court to assess the degree of temptation for the accused to abscond given the gravity of the charges.

Moshabane appeared calm and had her dreadlocked head covered with a scarf as proceedings went on in court

The case is postponed to 4 May when a judgement on the bail application is expected to be handed down.

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