PRETORIA – Four suspects including two companies appeared briefly at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on charges of racketeering, corruption and fraud.
Mr Pragasen Reddy (40), Siviwe Mafanya (55), Sibusiso Khumalo (48) and Douglas Rikhotso (41) were arrested by the Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation on Wednesday and taken directly to court where they were each granted R15 000 bail.
The suspects were also ordered to hand over their passports.
Two other suspects could not appear in court, one due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and the other resides in Cape Town. Efforts are already underway to secure the suspects appearance in Johannesburg.
It is alleged that between January and June 2011, a former Hyde Park First National Bank (FNB) Manager issued bank guarantees in favour of Lavela Petroleum Pty Ltd and Imvuselelo Petroleum and Gas to increase their credit facility to buy fuel from Sasol Oil. The bank manager at the time, did not have the authority to issue or approve bank guarantees on behalf of the bank.
The suspect who is currently under quarantine, allegedly formed a joint venture between Lavela Petroleum Pty Ltd, Imvuselelo Petroleum and his company.
He did not have any trading deal with Sasol. He allegedly facilitated the fabrication of false bank guarantees by Reddy for the three entities and made payments in the form of kickbacks to the bank manager.
Sasol suffered a R 279 million loss as FNB discovered that the guarantees were falsified and refused to honour them.
The suspects are facing three (3) charges of racketeering, eight (8) charges of fraud and two (2) charges of corruption. The suspects are expected to appear at the same court on 01 October 2020.
Source: South African Police Service