A few months ago, another group, allegedly part of the same syndicate, stole R1.4-million from the Koukamma Municipality in Kareedouw in the Eastern Cape. Both matters will be dealt with jointly during a trial on April 15.
It is alleged that the syndicate, headed up by a former Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University student, combined their skills to pull off the massive scam.
Their allegedly installed a software program designed to record keystrokes (logging-in of users) onto the municipalities’ computers.
The program, according to courtpapers, automatically e-mailed the keystrokes to the syndicate’s member. The strokes included user names and passwords of the oblivious users.
The syndicate allegedly used this information to release money into numerous bank accounts they had set up.
The suspects were eventually arrested in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Yesterday, seven men and women, accused of defrauding the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court. An eighth member has since turned state witness.
In the Kareedouw matter, it is alleged that, in February 2010, the syndicate released R1.4-million into 16 different bank accounts they had also set up for this purpose.
The trial involving both cases continues on April 15.
All accused face charges of fraud, theft and contravention of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.