Nine people who allegedly defrauded the City of Tshwane out of R53m in December 2019 when the servers purportedly got hacked, were arrested by the Hawks on Thursday.

The City of Tshwane’s bank accounts had a R53m hole in December 2019 when their servers were allegedly hacked. The money was transferred to various bank accounts, including the bank account of Ayakhula Trading, whose directors, Nkosinathi Sithole and Gunther Wegrostek were arrested after the allegedly fraudulent transaction was picked up.

They were arrested in December 2019 and were granted R100 000 bail with strict conditions, which include reporting daily to a police station, not leaving Gauteng without consent of the investigative officer, and handing over passports.

The nine suspects who were arrested on Thursday were Merriam Mogoera, 60, Clement Makhanya, 45, Mzamo Gumede, 23, Martin Nhlapo, 49, Christiaan Mnqayi, 51, Wandile Malinga, 38, Castano Manuel, 48, Glen Spambo, 39, and Cheryl Nel, 59.

Colonel Katlego Mogale, Hawks spokesperson said they appeared at the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

“The Hawks’ National Clean Audit Task Team continues to fight fraud and corruption within the municipalities in the country as mandated.

Mogale said “The nine suspects were arrested for allegedly defrauding the City of Tshwane Municipality of millions”.

The Hawks said the Ayakhula Trading was also implicated in a similar fraudulent act where an estimated R1 billion JSE Trustee account was targeted by a syndicate.

“Thanks to the Absa banker’s suspicions of irregularities. The alert action saw the National Task Team linking nine individuals to the attack on the municipality.

“They will be charged for fraud and corruption. They will appear at the Pretoria Special Commercial Crimes Court joining Sithole and Wegrostek.

He also said “The fight against looting of the municipality funds that cripple service delivery will continue until the perpetrators are prosecuted”.

The Hawks said Nel and Spambo were granted R10 000 bail, while the remaining suspects were denied bail.

The matter was postponed until next Friday. The accused will appear at the Pretoria Special Commercial Crimes court for a formal bail application.