'Ask no questions, hear no lies'

The continuing hunt for the SME Bank's stolen millions has exposed a money-laundering operation in South Africa.

12 March 2019 | Banking

The liquidators of the SME Bank, David Bruni and Ian McLaren, have applied to the Gauteng High Court in South Africa to freeze five bank accounts held by RENS Kontant in Transito CC at FirstRand Bank.

The liquidators believe that RENS Kontant played a role in the theft perpetrated on the SME Bank.

RENS Kontant, a cash-in-transit company, allegedly received N$4.4 million of the SME Bank money, which it then liquidated within a period of four days.

The N$4.4 million was paid into the RENS Kontant accounts by a company called Klosette/Transparency, to which N$67 million of the SME Bank's stolen money had been transferred.

It is alleged that the top structure of the SME Bank used fraudulent invoices to spirit money out of the bank, often using cash-in-transit companies such as RENS Kontant, which then delivered or electronically transferred money to those who benefited from the theft.

The information from RENS was extracted by inquests conducted in South Africa in November 2018 and January this year.

With that information an ex parte (one-sided) court application was brought before the Gauteng High Court for fear that the money would be transferred and possibly disappear forever if the respondents were given notice.

RENS Kontant is accused of not having taken measures to safeguard the interests of the SME Bank, as it is legally required to do, and that it had acted in breach of a duty of care to the SME Bank.

The two people summoned by the commission of inquiry to testify for RENS Kontant, Christoffel van Rensburg and his mother, Kotie, admitted under oath that they had “asked no questions and heard no lies”.

Christoffel van Rensburg later said the phrase had been used in an informal and jocular manner.

RENS Kontant had also delivered N$2.5 million to George Markides, the man who allegedly dispensed hard cash to various beneficiaries of the stolen SME Bank money, without reporting it to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in South Africa.

South Africa's FIC Act requires that cash transfers exceeding N$24 999 must be reported to the FIC.

Bruni and McLaren argue that these were “serious suspect circumstances” that raised “serious questions of money laundering and unlawful activities”.

They further argue that RENS Kontant - because of its failure to report the transfers to FIC - was also responsible for other damages of more than N$57 million suffered by the SME Bank. This money was paid into the Transparency account after the N$4.4 million had been paid over to RENS Kontant.

South Africa's FIC has an information-sharing agreement with the FIC in Namibia. The liquidators argue that if the FIC in Namibia had known about the transfers to RENS Kontant, no further payments to Transparency would have been made.



'Don't know sme Bank'

The Van Rensburgs maintained that they only heard about the SME Bank when they were summoned to appear before the commission. They denied any liability for the N$4.4 million or the N$57 million.

They said they also did not know of Transparency's dealings with the SME Bank, as their client was Markides's company, Dedrego CC.

Christoffel van Rensburg said RENS often transported cash and other goods for Markides's businesses. He said Markides's Dedrego Refinery bought precious metals from retail shops throughout Gauteng and exchanged these for cash.

They said two amounts paid into RENS's accounts were deposited by Markides and, therefore, they did not consider the transactions to be untoward or improper.





CATHERINE SASMAN

Similar News

 

Going, going, gone

1 week ago - 14 March 2019 | Banking

The sole director of Transparency.com, which was housed in a non-descript office in Centurion, Johannesburg, has given a first-hand account of how the millions raided...

'Ask no questions, hear no lies'

1 week ago - 12 March 2019 | Banking

The liquidators of the SME Bank, David Bruni and Ian McLaren, have applied to the Gauteng High Court in South Africa to freeze five bank...

How SME Bank was looted

2 weeks ago - 07 March 2019 | Banking

Advocate Raymond Heathcote, acting on behalf of SME Bank liquidators David Bruni and Ian McLaren, said in court this week that the case read like...

Agribank chases defaulters

4 weeks ago - 21 February 2019 | Banking

Embattled farmers defaulting on their loans are increasingly being dragged to court in an effort by Agribank Namibia to recover outstanding debts. Last...

BoN, Bundesbank to further bolster ties

1 month - 18 February 2019 | Banking

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) and the central bank of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbank, want to strengthen existing ties, particularly in the areas of combating...

Surge in use of digital banking

1 month - 11 February 2019 | Banking

FNB Namibia says customers are increasingly embracing digital banking channels in order to bank in a convenient and affordable manner.The highest number of customers migrated...

Banks sued for rand manipulation

1 month - 07 February 2019 | Banking

The Competition Commission of South Africa says Standard Chartered Bank has pleaded guilty to currency manipulation, including of the South African rand, citing a consent...

Peace of mind

1 month - 01 February 2019 | Banking

Bank Windhoek, Auto Armor Namibia and Amber Connect have forged an amazing partnership that gives customers peace of mind on the road.Bank Windhoek, Auto Armor...

LongRich model under investigation

2 months ago - 18 January 2019 | Banking

The Bank of Namibia is assessing the activities of LongRich to establish whether it is legitimate or a pyramid scheme, BoN spokesman Kazembire Zemburuka has...

IT glitch leaves bank customers stranded

2 months ago - 09 January 2019 | Banking

OGONE TLHAGEAn IT glitch left hundreds of FNB Namibia customers at Oshikango stranded yesterday.The customers, who were queuing outside the bank from 08h30, thought that...

Latest News

Millions unaccounted for at NDC,...

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Economics

The Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) has failed to submit documentary evidence to prove how it spent N$90.1 million between 2015 and 2017, the latest report...

Aluta continua!

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Columns

Tomorrow is without doubt a significant day in our national history, as we pause to celebrate the spirit of our forefathers and struggle heroes and...

Africa Briefs

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Economics

No end date for Eskom’s power cutsSouth Africa's public enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday he cannot say yet when rolling blackouts will end, as...

Cob plundering suspects nabbed

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Crime

Leandrea Louw Two men arrested on Saturday for allegedly being in possession of 60 large cob made their first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s...

Unfinished pipeline impacts 7 000...

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Infrastructure

About 6 932 people and 33 790 large and 18 395 small stock units are facing thirst, as the agriculture ministry battles to finish the...

Apple unveils new iPad, updates...

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Technology

Sonam RaiApple Inc, in a surprise move on Monday, launched a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and updated its iPad Mini ahead of a March 25...

Climate change and productivity

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Agriculture

Climate change is a long-term change in climatic/weather patterns of the earth or region. Such change is observed in temperature and rainfall patterns, amongst others....

Palladium hits record high

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Business

Palladium surged to a record yesterday as the risk of a ban on some Russian exports added to supply concerns for the autocatalyst metal. Spot...

State supports non-compliant security firms

1 day - 20 March 2019 | Business

Employers and trade unions agree that one of the major issues facing the Namibian security services industry is that some government institutions continue to appoint...

Load More