Ex-Absa Bank Staff Get 15 Years For R1 Million Fraud

Two former Absa bank employees in the Eastern Cape have been sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for fraud and money laundering totaling over R1 million.

Florika Shenay Owusu, 31, and Abongile Tyusha, 30, were sentenced by the Gqeberha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for crimes committed while they were employees at Absa between November 2019 and June 2021.

The two were sentenced to five years for fraud and theft, and 10 years for money laundering, with four years suspended for five years on the condition that they do not violate the Organised Crime Act during that period.

Provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (Hawks), Warrant Officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana, said Owusu worked as a consultant at a branch in Patensie, while Tyusha was transferred to the Dutywa branch.

“Their duties were to issue clients with bank cards as well as to assist them with bank enquiries,” Mhlakuvana said.

“The accused fraudulently opened bank accounts using names of deceased individuals and foreign nationals without their knowledge. They issued debit cards for these accounts to facilitate fraudulent transfers and withdrawals.

“They reactivated 18 dormant accounts, mainly belonging to foreign passport holders, including deceased South African citizens. They withdrew the cash that was transferred fraudulently into accounts that they had opened.”

Mhlakuvana said said that at time, Absa employees were not allowed to disclose any information without the client’s consent.

“The transactions were made in tranches and as a result Absa suffered a loss of over R1 million.”

The duo were arrested after an internal audit was conducted at the bank.

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