Tebogo Msimanga |
A 40-year-old Virginia Phoku, a post office teller at Mpundule post office in Sekhukhune in Limpopo was released on bail by the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court after she was arrested by the Nelspruit-based Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team on Monday.
Phoku is an additional suspect in the Bushbuckridge South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant fraud, theft and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Dineo Sekgotodi said it is alleged that during December 2020, Thandeka Dibakwane (43), a former Nelspruit post office teller, shared SASSA grant beneficiaries’ information via WhatsApp with other colleagues from other branches. “This was aimed at defrauding money meant for the beneficiaries who were due to receive backdated funds”.
Lucia Mashego (39), the branch Manager of Shatale post office and Virginia Phoku (40) the branch Manager of Mpundule post office both performed fraudulent transactions and withdrew the money for their gain.
Sekgotodi added that they also re-issued beneficiaries’ cards in order to withdraw further funds. During the investigation, it was established that a private person Lizzy Precious Smangele Nyathi (42) was used to withdraw money from different ATMs.
Dibakwane and Nyathi were arrested on 24 May 2022 and were released on R20 000 bail each. Their case is postponed to 21 July 2022. Phoku was also released on R20 000 bail by the same court on Monday, her case is postponed to 28 August 2022 for further investigation.