Two South Africans and a Cameroonian national have been arrested in connection with the theft of R36m siphoned from the estate of late Zimbabwean businessman and socialite Obert Karombe.
Karombe died in a car crash on April 25 along the Harare-Masvingo highway this year.
Nomaphelo Sethi, 28, her Cameroonian boyfriend Rody Martial Nzeya, 43, and Thabiso Matenda appeared at the Makhado magistrate’s court in Limpopo on Monday on charges of theft.
They are believed to be part of a syndicate that targets the estates of deceased people.
Matenda identified the millions in the late Karombe’s account and created a parody bank account he used to transfer money to various other accounts, including R3m donated to a church in Tzaneen.
The Hawks arrested him in June this year after he resigned when he was quizzed about the matter by his managers. He has been in custody since being arrested and has had his bail application denied by the Makhado magistrate’s court a fortnight ago.
Hawks’ spokesperson Capt Matimba Maluleke said:
The bank opened a case amid suspicion of fraudulent activities, which led to Matenda’s arrest in June. Matenda had allegedly connived with his accomplices to open a new bank account, linked it to Karombe’s account and started distributing all the money from the account.
Trouble started when the distributor of the money wanted it back and Sethi and Nyeya allegedly wanted to keep a portion of it for themselves but disagreed and fought over how to share the loot.
When Sethi went to the police in Johannesburg to open a case of assault against her boyfriend, the police discovered that the money they were fighting over was actually stolen.
Sethi and Nyeya were arrested on charges of theft and were then transported to Makhado on Saturday.
They were remanded in custody for a bail hearing set for 22 July. Matenda is expected to also be present as the first accused in the case when the pair plead for bail.