R30 million TVET college fraud: Four suspects granted bail

Four people, including a former Chief Financial Officer (CFO), accused of defrauding a TVET college in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, have each been granted bail.


The suspects appeared before the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Friday, 31 July 2020.


The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Durban Serious Corruption Investigation, handcuffed the suspects for fraud, corruption and money laundering.


Zaitoon Shaik, the CFO of a Durban investment company, his business associate, Shariq Ansari, attorney, Azgar Ally Khan and his wife, Sharlene Bechoo, are alleged to have orchestrated a plot to steal millions from Coastal KZN TVET College.


They have been granted bail totalling R145 000 and are due back in the dock in October.

A 'bank proposal'


According to authorities, Shaik presented the institution with a so-called 'investment opportunity' between November 2018 and October 2019. Shaik is alleged to have colluded with Ansari to put together an investment proposal purporting to have come from a bank.


The pair is said to have used their powers of persuasion and convinced the bank to invest R30 million into a bank account similar to that of the institution, when it was actually false.


The college would then later discover that no investment was ever made in its name.


Some of the money is said to have been transferred into Khan's wife, Sharlene's account.


Speaking to Eyewitness News, the Department of Higher Education and Training in the province's Dr Sipho Nzimande said:


"The only eventuality I want to see is people being thrown into jail and receiving heavy sentences because the court activities can result into anything. When you talk of court cases involving government, they will not give us lucrative, if not tangible results. But my wish for people who have committed such is that they get arrested and get heavy sentences that they deserve"

Theft has 'huge impact' on college


Nzimande added that the alleged theft had a 'huge impact' on the institution and its running.


"…It's not just people only, infrastructure needs to be attended to, learning material needs to be improved", he said.


"You would know that such monies during this period would have contributed a lot because we are talking about online and 4IR and all things that would make it easy for students to access their learning material, and with that money gone, we don't know what the future holds"