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Land Bank Black staffers accused of fraud
Four Land Bank staffers are expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court in July on charges of defrauding the institution, the National Prosecuting Authority said.
Theo Behrens, Max Mathebula, Elsa Behrens and Jacobus Coetzee are charged with eight counts of fraud, theft and money laundering. An arrest warrant was issued for a fifth suspect still at large, spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.
Behrens, a former Land Bank employee, was granted bail of R10 000 and his co-accused released on warnings when they appeared in court on June 3. The case was postponed to July 21, when a trial date would be set.
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They are accused of defrauding the bank's micro-finance product, Mafisa, an empowerment scheme that offers low interest-rate loans to black workers or entrepreneurs who want to be farmers.
Mafisa was piloted in Limpopo but halted after irregular loans of over R18 million were disbursed.
Behrens was dismissed in December 2006 after he was found guilty at a disciplinary hearing related to the case. The rest of the accused allegedly helped by collecting farm workers' ID's so Behrens could process loan applications on their behalf.
Coetzee, the owner of Noordchem Close Corporation, allegedly provided Behrens with false invoices for submission to the bank. Coetzee would then receive payments and allegedly transfer the money to Behrens' bank account.
Behrens allegedly benefited to the tune of more than R3,5 million. - Sapa
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