Suspects arrested for hacking City of Tshwane, R53m pillaged

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Nine suspects, aged between 23 and 60, will this week appear in court for allegedly hacking City of Tshwane servers, defrauding the municipality of R53 million.

The suspects were arrested last week in various parts of Gauteng for the crime that was allegedly committed in December 2019.

The group appeared at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and were reportedly granted R100 000 bail with strict conditions.

In a statement, the police say the group was nabbed by the Hawks National Clean Audit task team, which alleges that in December 2019, R53 million “was stolen from the municipality after the system was allegedly hacked”.

Among those arrested are Nkosinathi Sithole and Gunther Wegrostek, former directors of Ayakhula Trading, which the police say was used as conduit for the commission of the crime.

“The former directors of the company, Sithole and Wegrostek, were arrested immediately after the fraudulent transaction,” says Colonel Katlego Mogale.

Furthermore, the police say Ayakhula Trading is implicated in a similar fraudulent act, where an estimated R1 billion JSE Trustee account was targeted by this business syndicate, but irregularities were spotted by Absa.

Colonel Mogale says the alert action by the bank saw the National Task Team link nine individuals to the attack on the municipality.

“They will be charged for fraud and corruption. They will appear at the Pretoria Special Commercial Crimes Court, joining Sithole and Wegrostek. The fight against looting of the municipality funds that cripple service delivery will continue until the perpetrators are prosecuted.”

The group is set to appear in court again this week and were ordered to report daily to a police station, and not leave Gauteng without consent of the investigative officer.

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