Ar­rests in pen­sions probe

Busi­ness­man, trade union­ist ac­cused of em­bez­zling mil­lions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - WARDA MEYER

THE HAWKS crime- fight­ing unit has ar­rested a former tex­tile union­ist and a com­pany di­rec­tor in Cape Town for al­legedly em­bez­zling mil­lions of rand in cloth­ing work­ers’ pen­sion fund money.

The pair, at the fore­front of the liq­ui­da­tion in­quiry into Canyon Springs In­vest­ments – which saw the loss of R100 mil­lion of cloth­ing work­ers’ pen­sion funds – will spend the week­end be­hind bars un­til their court ap­pear­ance on Mon­day.

Po­lice say the Hawks launched a probe into the men’s fi­nan­cial af­fairs, ef­fect­ing an ar­rest late on Thurs­day.

Spokesman Cap­tain FC Van Wyk said, “Se­nior Hawks in­ves­ti­ga­tors are in pos­ses­sion of sen­si­tive doc­u­men­ta­tion which in­di­cates that a 50- year- old Cape Town com­pany di­rec­tor al­legedly com­mit­ted tax-re­lated fraud to the tune of R942 838.”

The busi­ness­man was a former fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant of a well-known cloth­ing in­dus­try trade union. “The com­pany di­rec­tor is also linked to in­voice fraud in­volv­ing R7m per­tain­ing to two com­pa­nies. Ac­cord­ing to records, value added tax (VAT) monies had not been paid to Sars, but chan­nelled else­where.”

Van Wyk said the sec­ond di­rec­tor, a 42-year-old man who is a 100 per­cent share­holder in a chain of com­pa­nies, al­legedly si­phoned large amounts of cash from an em­pow­er­ment trust into his per­sonal ac­count.

“Al­le­ga­tions against him amount to thefts from the trust and its as­sets in­volv­ing R15m.”

Both sus­pects will ap­pear sep­a­rately in the Athlone and Cape Town mag­is­trate’s courts on Mon­day.

An­dre Kriel, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the SA Cloth­ing and Tex­tile Work­ers Union (Sactwu), yes­ter­day wel­comed the ar­rests.

“We will leave no stone un­turned. We want ev­ery sin­gle cent of our mem­bers’ re­tire­ment fund monies back, and the guilty must go to jail for a very long time,” he said.

The Cape Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try’s Michael Ba­graim said it was about time that the law took its course.

“White col­lar fraud is as in­sid­i­ous as vi­o­lent crime. This is not just a case of hav­ing a prob­lem with the pen­sion fund. This is about peo­ple’s lives be­ing de­stroyed.”

Thou­sands of work­ers who planned for their re­tire­ment would be left in the lurch due to the dis­ap­pear­ance of their funds, said Ba­graim.

warda.meyer@inl.co.za

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.