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AFU freezes R29m assets linked to wealthy family, associates who ‘stole from Eskom’

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The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit was granted a freezing order by the high court for property and money amounting to R29 million belonging to a “syndicate that stole from Eskom”.

The High Court in Pretoria has granted an order freezing property and money valued at R29 million belonging to “a syndicate that stole” from Eskom. File Picture

THE ASSET Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was granted a freezing order by the High Court in Pretoria for property and money valued at R29 million belonging to “a syndicate that stole from Eskom”.

The order was granted on Thursday, according to NPA Gauteng regional spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana.

“The restraint order is to freeze properties and cash worth R29 million belonging to a syndicate that stole from Eskom. Mothelli Ben Theletsane, who has since passed on, was employed at Eskom on a contract basis and worked in a prepaid environment, supporting Eskom’s prepaid vending system,” Mahanjana said.

“He (Theletsane) operated as a supervisor in his role and therefore obtained intimate knowledge of the operations of machines, and he also acquired technical expertise on the ins and outs of the Credit Dispensing Units (CDU).”

Moreover, Mahanjana said that during his employment, Theletsane also acquired from Eskom a master vending unit that can generate “limitless” prepaid electricity vouchers and a few credit dispensing units, which he concealed after his exit from Eskom.

“After his passing in 2017, the business was taken over by his wife Thandi Roselinah Theletsane, 50, and her three sons, Papi Isaac Theletsane, 31; Tebello Lucky Theletsane, 24; and Sibusiso Alfred Migal, 34,” said Mahanjana.

“In 2012, it was discovered that Theletsane was allegedly running a ghost vending operation whereby he illegally generated electricity vouchers to the value of over R36 million and sold them to the public for his benefit.”

The NPA said the business “became so lucrative” that it was expanded throughout all nine provinces of South Africa.

“Through the syndicate, the Theletsane family, and the company Mothelli Theletsane Holdings and Investment (Pty) Ltd, they managed to acquire 27 movable and 39 immovable properties worth over R23 million from the proceeds of crime,” said Mahanjana.

“The other 10 involved in the syndicate – Petrus Mohapi, 43; Donald Rammusi, 33; Victor Mdlalose, 62; Joseph Mdlalose, 38; Florence Mdlalose, 28; Daniel Mapena Moleko, 30; Xolani Dube, 30; Lebohang Dennis Thabanyana, 37; Raymond Balfour Mohapi, 40; and Sebabatso Madibuseng Mbele, 40 – acquired 17 movable and one immovable property to the value of over R1.5 million.”

The Theletsane family members, together with the 10 other accused, were arrested on July 14, 2021, and appeared before the Fochville Magistrate’s Court.

During their last appearance on October 31, the matter was remanded to November 15 for one of the accused to apply for Legal Aid assistance.

Mahanjana said law enforcement agencies are working around the clock to recoup every cent defrauded from the State.

“This matter does not only highlight the effective co-operation and collaboration between various crime-fighting agencies within the NPA, as well as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), but also shows determination and commitment by the NPA to ensure that money stolen from the State is returned,” said concluded.

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