South African woman held for stealing firm funds for liquor stores

By Fakir Hassen, IANS,

Johannesburg : A South African woman of Indian origin allegedly used funds stolen from her employer during her tenure as a salaries accountant to finance several liquor businesses for her family, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said Friday.

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Danalutchmee Latchman, her husband and daughter (unnamed) were arrested and have been charged with fraud, theft and money laundering in the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court. They are due to appear in court again June 23.

The Johannesburg asset forfeiture unit (AFU) has seized assets worth more than Rand23 million belonging to Latchman, formerly employed by Omnia Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

The NPA said the successful freezing of the assets was as the result of the joint initiatives of the specialised commercial crimes unit of the South African police service and the AFU.

“It is alleged that Ms Latchman stole funds to this value over a period of time from Omnia Holdings (Pty) Ltd,” NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali (sic) told Bua News.

Tlali confirmed that Latchman had used her accounts and those of her immediate family members and their businesses to deposit the stolen funds.

According to the NPA, the funds were used to pay for personal expenses, including bond accounts, and to finance their liquor businesses in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

The assets placed under restraint include five fixed properties in the sprawling mainly Indian township of Lenasia, south of here.

Also seized were 13 motor vehicles which include a SAAB motor vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, a Toyota RAV4 and a BMW 3-series.

Furthermore, 18 bank accounts and a sum of Rand650 000, which was used to pay for bail, was also restrained.

“Our agencies of state responsible for law enforcement remain vigilant and will make every effort to ensure that anyone who commits crime is not allowed to benefit from it,” Tlali added.