Going, going, gone

A Centurion-based company, which had a single person acting as director, CEO and “kitchen lady”, received “investments” through its accounts, which were then funnelled to the receivers of the SME Bank loot.

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 from the SME Bank were funnelled through his company. Software engineer Carl Edem Honu (37), who is a South African citizen originally from Ghana, in his witness account to a commission of inquiry in December 2017 held in South Africa, said he was the “director, the CEO, the kitchen lady, then everything” of Transparency.com when he first appeared on the radar of the SME Bank raiders.

At the time, he said, he was working for another company, Amadeus IT, because Transparency.com was then not “in full flight”.

During the investigation into the missing millions it was uncovered that companies linked to Transparency.com had received as much as N$67 million directly from SME Bank.

Honu said he first met former SME Bank IT systems manager, Zimbabwean Takura Mapfumo, at a seminar in Sandton, through a “mutual friend”, Ovid Chitsiku.

Chitsiku is a Zimbabwean lawyer and one of the people “entrenched” in the businesses of Enock Kamushinda, who is described as the “mastermind” behind the looting at SME Bank.

Honu testified he was first invited to do IT-related work for SME Bank, for which he was supposed to be paid about N$1.8 million.

Although liquidators David Bruni and Ian McLaren found that SME Bank never used Honu's services, he [Honu] insisted that he had done the work, but was never paid.

Honu also gave testimony about how he got ensnared into the inner workings of the alleged “investments” he was to funnel for the bank robbers.

Modus operandi

Honu said when he did not get paid for the work he had done for SME Bank, Mapfumo and former CEO Tawanda Mumvuma suggested signing him up as a “proxy for their investments in South Africa”, and in that way he would get paid for his IT work.

Asked what he understood this to mean, Honu responded: “I understood that I would get … they would send money to me and whoever they are supposed to be, who they are investing to I don't know. I would like distribute to them and then my invoices would be paid that way (sic).”

Honu said Mumvuma and Mapfumo told him that they would send money to Transparency.com, which he in turn was to then “invest” in a number of companies.

“[Then] they tell me these are the companies of the investment that needed to be paid and they will tell me how much of my invoice will be paid and that's how I was then paid (sic),” the transcript of the interview with Honu stated.

“They told me they were going to create a company. I would be a director on the company. We are investing in South Africa. My role was to receive the money, get the instructions to pay the different companies, pay them and they would let me know how much I will be paid from my original invoices (sic).”

Honu said there were no companies created, but he would instead receive an SMS from his bank informing him of the millions paid into Transparency.com's bank account.

Thereafter he would meet up with Mumvuma or Mapfumo in Johannesburg, who would provide him with a “payment schedule” - the people who needed to be paid, and so on.

“I'll do that. This is my account, gone, done (sic),” Honu said, while describing the transactions. Honu said although he got 5% from each of the “investments” made through his account, in total it never amounted to the N$1.8 million owed to him by SME Bank, and that he only got about N$500 000.


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