Hawks raid Saxonwold, ‘arrest’ a Gupta

The Hawks – also known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – on Wednesday morning swooped in on the Gupta family home in Saxonwold, where they reportedly arrested one of the brothers and an associate.

Two other people are reportedly negotiating a handover.

ENCA is reporting that one Gupta brother and an associate have been arrested, but Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said it was “just speculation”.

He said the Hawks had “concluded that operation” and were moving on to other addresses to continue their probe.

Mulaudzi said the raid was part of an investigation into allegations of influence peddling in the government.

“We’re viewing this investigation in a very serious light. We’re not playing around in terms of making sure that those who are responsible in the so-called state capture, they take responsibility for it,” Mulaudzi said.

He declined to give details of what was seized or if the business premises of the Guptas would also be raided, saying a full statement would be released later on Wednesday.

The Guptas have a close relationship with President Jacob Zuma and his family.

The raid comes amid a probe into allegations that the family used their links with the president to win state contracts and influence Cabinet appointments.

The raid on the family home of the Guptas comes a day after the ANC ordered Zuma to step down as head of state after nine years in office dogged by scandal and a stagnant economy.

Zuma and the Guptas – a family of wealthy Indian-born businessmen – deny any wrongdoing.

A lawyer for the Gupta family said he could not comment on the raid because he had yet to see the search warrant.

On Wednesday morning a dozen heavily armed tactical police blocked off a street leading to the Gupta home in Saxonwold. A police officer told Reuters: “This is a crime scene.”

Two cars of the elite police unit were seen parked outside the mega homestead.

A group of officers, some in police gear, later emerged from the home. They drove off without addressing a throng of journalists camped outside the house.

The home remained guarded by private security guards. Clad in black, they were seen opening a gate for a car that drove in.

The Saxonwold home has over the years also garnered its own controversy.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela pinpointed it as a venue for various dodgy meetings between members of the Gupta family and government officials.

By Ed Cropley, Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and ANA for IOL


Update: President Jacob Zuma resigned with immediate effect on Wednesday evening, one hour before his deadline was up.  There is, however, still the matter of making official the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the republic.

Although the ANC has recalled President Jacob Zuma, it was still insisting on Tuesday that he had done nothing wrong.

Speaker after speaker at Monday night’s special national executive committee (NEC) meeting said Zuma should go for a range of reasons, central to which was the ANC’s electoral performance and the effect that his remaining head of state could have on the party.

On Tuesday, the net continued to tighten around Zuma.

The ANC said it was waiting for his response on Wednesday. Should he refuse to resign, the ANC said it would be forced to remove him in Parliament.

Zuma is expected to address the nation on Wednesday. The Presidency could, however, not be reached to confirm this.

As the ANC notified him formally of its decision to recall him, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams gave the prosecution team dealing with Zuma’s corruption, fraud and racketeering charges until February 23 to provide their recommendations. This was after Zuma made fresh representations in January on why he should not be prosecuted. If Zuma declines the ANC offer to let him resign it will pave the way for his removal through a motion of no confidence.

In the past eight motions of no confidence against him, the ANC stuck to the party line that he should not be removed. It was only in the last motion that some of the party’s MPs voted differently in a secret ballot vote.

The party line this time will be that Zuma must go.

Business Day understands that the NEC has given the ANC caucus in the National Assembly the task of devising a strategy for his removal should he refuse to heed the recall.

The ANC chief whip has been instructed to brief the caucus, which is expected to meet on Wednesday morning while the ANC awaits a “response” from Zuma on the unanimous NEC decision to recall him. A cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed.

While ANC secretary- general Ace Magashule told journalists that there was no decision on a motion of no confidence in Parliament, it is understood that the NEC agreed that should Zuma fail to resign Parliamentary processes would kick in.

Immediately after the ANC’s briefing, the rand weakened from R11.92 to the dollar to R11.98. Analysts said there was concern in the market that Zuma had not been given a deadline by which to resign. At 6.30pm on Tuesday, the rand firmed marginally against the dollar, to R11.96. Before Magashule’s announcement it had reached a best intraday level of R11.87.

According to sources who took part in the NEC meeting, which started at 2pm on Monday afternoon and dragged on into the early hours of Tuesday, the possibility of court action against the recall was also raised. This emerged amid reports that Transform SA — a Zuma-aligned lobby group — had launched a legal bid to challenge the outcome of the NEC meeting.

According to senior ANC leaders, Zuma was “very angry” and may not resign voluntarily.

Magashule confirmed that the NEC had rejected Zuma’s request for a further three months in office to “introduce” incoming president Cyril Ramaphosa to international bodies such as Brics and the Southern African Development Community. It is understood that even those who were seen to be staunch supporters of Zuma’s have indicated that it is time for him to go.

Zuma’s preferred candidate for the presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, while diplomatic about the matter, indicated at the NEC meeting that Zuma could not see his term out or deliver the state of the nation address.

When asked for the NEC’s reasons for recalling Zuma and whether it related to allegations of state capture, Magashule was emphatic, saying the president had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Magashule said the reason for the recalled was that the party wanted Ramaphosa in the position of president and for him to deliver the state of the nation address. Magashule said that when a deployee of the ANC was recalled the party expected that person to comply.

For now, the ANC was giving Zuma “time and space”.

Magashule said Zuma was a “disciplined member” and he believed that the president would make the right decision, but again pleaded for time.

“The national executive committee firmly believes that this situation requires us to act with urgency in order to steer our country towards greater levels of unity, renewal and hope.

“We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery,” Magashule said.

By Natasha Marrian and Genevieve Quintal for Business Live

Gupta bank exits SA

With the state-capture inquiry about to kick off, the Bank of Baroda announced on Monday it was shutting down its South African branches.

The instruction is said to have come from the bank’s headquarters in India.

The bank, which provided banking services to the Gupta family when other banks would not, said its parent company was “rationalising” branches in international markets.

There was speculation at the weekend that it would exit SA.

Baroda said it would stop taking new deposits from March and cease operations altogether at the end of March.

The South African Reserve Bank said the registrar of banks was in talks with Baroda to ensure its orderly withdrawal to protect depositors. The bank had R2.6bn in deposits at the end of December, according to regulatory filings.

Manoj Kumar Jha, the bank’s South African acting CEO, declined to comment.

The latest developments come after the bank became ensnared in state-capture allegations through its association with the Gupta family, its companies and associates.

Baroda faced the possibility of closure arising from a directive the Bank issued after it fined Baroda R10m for breaching sections of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

Baroda was named in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s 2016 report on state capture, which directed President Jacob Zuma to appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate whether any official or organ of state had acted unlawfully, improperly or corruptly by giving financing facilities to companies linked to the Gupta family. This included a R659.5m prepayment that Eskom made to Tegeta Exploration & Resources to acquire the Optimum mine that supplied coal to Eskom.

Baroda is to be investigated for its role in facilitating the transaction and its handling of funds belonging to Optimum’s mine-rehabilitation fund.

After a lengthy legal battle and a ruling by the High Court in Pretoria, Zuma finally appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in January to head the state-capture inquiry.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s asset-forfeiture unit froze more than R110m in deposits held at Baroda, which it said were proceeds of crime related to the controversial Vrede dairy-farm project in the Free State — meant to empower poor community members.

According to the asset-forfeiture unit, the R110m was part of R220.2m paid by the Free State agriculture department to Estina, a company associated with Atul Gupta, for the project.

Very little of this money was used for its intended purpose. Some funds found their way to Atul Gupta’s niece Vega’s blockbuster wedding at Sun City, while other funds went to vehicle dealers and other entities belonging to the Gupta family.

Attempts to reach Eugene Nel, the curator who was appointed by the court on behalf of the asset-forfeiture unit, were unsuccessful.

By Moyagabo Maake for Business Live

Charges will be laid against 31 City of Johannesburg officials implicated in an alleged kickback scandal involving a Johannesburg stationery provider, Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This morning, I received shocking news that 31 city officials allegedly received about R2.7m in kickbacks from a single service provider registered on the city’s and municipal-owned entities (MOEs) database,” said Mashaba.

The company, in the south of Johannesburg, supplied office stationery and equipment including desktop computers, laptops, printer cartridges and toners worth around R20m.

The implicated officials work in various departments within the city, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg City Parks, Joburg Property Company, Johannesburg Roads Agency and Pikitup.

One official allegedly made R1m from one transaction, and another allegedly got R685 000 in a toner transaction.

The method was allegedly to inflate quotes to include their cut. This was collected via their payment method of choice which included Shoprite money transfers, First National Bank e-wallet payments, cash payments and transfers to individual accounts.

City to lay charges

“In some instances the goods were ordered and not delivered but they were paid for,” the mayor continued.

He said the Hawks, working with the city’s group forensic and investigation services department and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, seized documents on Tuesday night after a raid was conducted at the company’s offices.

The company also conducts business with other municipalities where officials are also paid a certain fee for giving them business, the mayor alleged.

“I am disappointed to learn that there are still people in the system who are still involved or engaged in corrupt activities and colluding with service providers. This is despite the fact that we continuously educate employees about fraud and corruption,” he said.

Mashaba said the city would lay charges against the employees and the company.

Comment from the Hawks on the raid or what would happen to the stationery company was not immediately available.

By Jenni Evans for News24
Image: supplied by City of Johannesburg


British man in Bitcoin heist

Armed robbers broke into the family home of a city financier turned Bitcoin trader and forced him to transfer the digital currency at gunpoint, in what is believed to be the first heist of its kind in the UK.

Four robbers in balaclavas forced their way into the home of Danny Aston, 30, who runs a digital currency trading firm, before reportedly tying up a woman and forcing Mr Aston to transfer an unknown quantity of the cryptocurrency.

Mr Aston lives in the picturesque village of Moulsford in South Oxfordshire, where episodes of Midsomer Murders have been filmed, in a rented four-bedroom converted barn estimated to be worth at least £700,000 on a private drive.

Police were called at around 9.40am on Monday to attend the home after raiders are reported to have entered the property by kicking down the door.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the men tied up a woman and kept a baby outside in a pram while forcing Mr Aston to transfer the Bitcoin. The value of a single Bitcoin is now around £8,000.

A neighbour confirmed on Sunday the property where the violent burglary took place, but said that Mr Aston and a woman believed to be his partner left Moulsford on Monday to stay with relatives and have not returned.

They said: “I was not here at the time, but I know the couple have left and are staying with relatives, they haven’t been back since.

“We are all obviously a bit shaken up, even though a few days have passed now. It is not what you expect to happen around here.”

Mr Aston – who lives with his 31-year-old business partner Amy Jay, according to the latest Companies House records – previously worked at Trayport, a London-based financial software company that operates a platform for trading energy commodities.

In June 2017, he established his own digital currency firm just before Bitcoin’s huge surge in value in July, according to Companies House.

Both Mr Aston and Ms Jay are listed online as directors of Aston Digital Currencies Ltd, and a company called Butler Hosting, which specialises in “data processing, hosting and related activities”.

A user named Danny Aston has previously been active on trading site Poloniex, which allows users to trade and store digital currency.

A local resident described the victim of the attack as well-known, but suggested that the small village community had been left dazed by the news.

“Everyone is shocked I think,” he said. “We think we live in a safer space, and then this happens and everyone gets scared.”

The village of Moulsford is home to two schools and a girl from Cranford House Prepatory School described how the students were told to get to safety as the armed robbery happened nearby.

She said: “We were all told to get down on the floor and stay in the middle of the schoolroom. All the curtains were closed and the doors locked. No-one knew what was going on but it was scary to say the least.”

Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows users to trade anonymously and securely across the internet without regulation or a central bank

It is understood that although Bitcoin’s secrecy will make the theft in Moulsford much more difficult for the police to investigate, there is a chance that the stolen currency will appear on the market as thieves try to exchange it into conventional money.

In the last 12 months, Bitcoin’s value has risen over 1000 per cent. It hit an all-time high on 17th December, when it was worth over £13,500.

A police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police is investigating an aggravated burglary which occurred at a property in Moulsford on Monday.

“Officers were called at about 9.40am to a report that offenders had entered a residential property off Reading Road and threatened the occupants. No one was seriously injured during the incident.

“An investigation into the incident is underway and officers attended nearby Moulsford School as a precautionary measure. It is not believed there was a threat to anyone at the school.

“Officers are particularly interested in speaking to anyone travelling through the village on the A329 Reading Road between 7.30am and 10.30am on Monday who has Dashcam footage or anyone with mobile phone footage.

“People in the local community may notice an increased presence of officers in the area while our enquiries are ongoing. The investigation is in its early stages however initial enquiries suggest this may be a targeted incident.

“No arrests have been made at this stage.”

By Tony Diver for The Telegraph 

On Tuesday morning, a financial research group called Viceroy released a report looking into the business model and practices of South African lender Capitec. It is damning in the extreme, accusing Capitec of “predatory finance” and massively overstating its performance and value. Capitec will collapse, says Viceroy, unless it is placed under curatorship by the authorities. Here’s what you need to know so far.

What is Capitec?

It’s a South African micro-finance provider which does business mainly with low-income South African consumers. It has been garlanded with awards for its innovative practices and high share prices.

What is Viceroy?

Good question, because until a few months ago few people in South Africa had heard of them. Viceroy is a financial research outfit consisting of three people working between New York and Australia. Viceroy is a deliberately low-profile company with a WordPress website, on which it describes itself as “a group of individuals that see the world differently”.

Viceroy started releasing reports on big companies in 2016, but only attracted South African interest after publishing a report exposing Steinhoff a day after the company admitted accounting irregularities. Now Viceroy has gone in guns blazing for Capitec.

So they’re like a financial version of activist group Anonymous?

That might be pushing it, because there is speculation that Viceroy also shorts stocks on the basis of its information. There is definitely a financial motive to their research as well as an altruistic dimension. Earlier this month, they told Fin24 that they had made donations to South African charities after the Steinhoff exposure, and claimed: “Our ethos is protecting consumers, investors and integrity by making sure all the facts are known.”

What does Viceroy have to say about Capitec?

Nothing flattering. In a 33-page report released on Tuesday morning, Viceroy says that its analysis of Capitec’s reports, study of legal papers and interviews carried out with former Capitec clients and employees reveals a South African enterprise engaging in “predatory finance”.

Capitec is preying upon low-income South Africans, Viceroy suggests, by offering instantly accessible credit via ATMs to people. Customers can be charged interest rates of 155% on a single loan. Viceroy has also obtained affidavits from clients who say that when their first loans with Capitec became too big, Capitec granted them further loans – which clients could not afford – to repay the first loan.

In effect, Viceroy charges that Capitec is acting like a snazzier version of a backstreet loan shark.

Why would Capitec offer loans to people who can’t afford them?

That’s the question which cuts to the heart of the micro-finance industry in South Africa. In Capitec’s case, Viceroy claims that the lender took home more than 20% of its 2017 earnings in loan fees. Viceroy says that Capitec also concealed the extent of its unpaid loans by constantly issuing new loans to refinance the old ones.

Are Viceroy’s claims true?

That remains to be seen. Its Steinhoff report was “hailed as highly professional and accurate”, according to Moneyweb.

The South African Reserve Bank, however, told Fin24 on Tuesday morning that according to the information SARB has at its disposal, Capitec is “solvent, well capitalised and has adequate liquidity”.

What does Capitec have to say for itself?

Its sole public statement on the matter at time of writing had been via social media. Capitec tweeted on Tuesday morning that it had “taken note” of the report. “We are currently in the process of investigating the report in detail and will respond immediately,” it said.

In a hastily sent-off memo to shareholders, however, Capitec was conceding nothing. It described the Viceroy report as “filled with factual errors, material omissions in respect of legal proceedings against Capitec and opinions that are not supported by accurate information”.

By Rebecca Davis for The Daily Maverick

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) is hoping to seize at least R50bn in 17 cases it is currently investigating related to state capture, acting head of operations advocate Knorx Molelle said on Tuesday.

In an interview with eNCA, Molelle said his team had already prioritised six matters which were before the courts, awaiting preservation orders.

“The matters are before the court and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will have court orders,” he said.

The AFU has already taken action against two Gupta-linked companies – Trillian and McKinsey – hoping to recoup R1.6bn in assets related to consultancy work done by the companies for Eskom and Transnet.

Through their engagements, Trillian had indicated a willingness to co-operate, Molelle said.

“We are quite confident that, in the next day or two, we would have recovered the funds that have been taken away.”

Assets would only be attached as a last resort, he said.

“If there is willingness with those that we are dealing with that they are prepared to make good, the actual physical removal will be a last resort.

“An engagement that we having is absolutely critical. We are sitting and resting with the comfort that should that not bare any fruits, we also identified the relevant assets from which we can recover.”

Mollelle said the matter should be finalised within the next two days.

The AFU was investigating six other matters in which they were hoping to recoup money in the current financial year, he added.

‘We are working at our utmost best’

The money would be deposited into the Criminal Asset Recovery account and reinvested into fighting crime or to the state, where needed.

Acting head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, advocate Malini Govender, could not clearly say when individuals would be prosecuted in cases related to state capture, only commenting that it was a complicated matter that needed time for thorough investigation.

“We have only been dealing with this since March, so you cannot expect that in a month or two months we are going to take something to court. We are working at our utmost best and hardest in ensuring there is sufficient traction to get this matter to court,” she said.

The NPA – together with National Treasury, the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the AFU – had an 18-man team dedicated to the “eight legged” state capture investigations, she added.

Seven of the investigation’s “legs” came from former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report into state capture, while the eighth stemmed from a separate complaint.

Both officials denied any interference by the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

“At no stage did he give any instruction that we do not proceed. In fact, at some stage he was… anxious at what he perceived to be a slow pace,” Molelle said.

14 Gupta-linked companies and individuals to have their assets frozen

At least 14 people and entities linked to the alleged corruption by Gupta-linked company Trillian and international consultancy firm McKinsey have been identified in a preservation order obtained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

The AFU is going after the big shots at Trillian and McKinsey. The people named in the court order include Eric Wood, who is Trillian CEO; Trillain CFO Tebogo Leballo; Prakash Parbhoo, a partner at McKinsey; and Jean Pierre Goerges Desvaux, who is a senior partner and managing partner at McKinsey.

The court order also identifies Trillian property in the high-end business precinct Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

Others named in the order include: Veronica Magwentshu, Thabiso Legoete, Johannes Faure, Daniel Roy, Trillian Capital Partners, Trillian Finanical Advisory, Trillian Management Consulting, Trillian Properties, Trillian Securities, McKinsey and Company Africa, and “any other person who becomes known to the applicant as having an interest in the property.

By Lizeka Tandwa and Mahlatse Mahlase for News24

President Jacob Zuma will face a fresh bid to force him from office when the ANC’s top leadership meets this week for the first time since he relinquished control of the party to his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa.

A proposal to order Zuma to step down before his term ends in 2019 will be discussed at a Wednesday meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee in East London, according to three members of the panel who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Zuma’s scandal-tainted tenure has eroded support for the ANC.

The NEC’s 86 voting members are divided into two loose factions – one that backed Ramaphosa, 65, to take over as party leader at the ANC’s national conference last month and another that’s allied to Zuma and favoured his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him.

Ramaphosa won the contest with just 52% of the vote, giving him a tenuous hold over the party, and it remains unclear where exactly the balance of power lies within the panel, which usually takes decisions by consensus.

“Given Cyril Ramaphosa’s emphasis on renewing the ANC, doing things afresh, it makes all the sense that the matter should be a priority agenda issue,” Mcebisi Ndletyana, a political science professor at the University of Johannesburg, said by phone.

“If it is raised and the motion is defeated, then that is a serious worry. It would be indicative that he does not have everyone behind him. It would make him a very weak president.”

Graft charges

The ANC’s former head of intelligence, Zuma, 75, took office in May 2009 just weeks after prosecutors dropped graft charges against him.

He’s spent years fighting a bid by opposition parties to have those charges reinstated and fending off allegations that he allowed members of the Gupta family to influence Cabinet appointments and the award of state contracts.

Euphoria following Ramaphosa’s election as ANC leader helped boost the rand 11% last month, the most among the world’s major currencies. The rand declined 0.9% to 12.4318/$ at 16:06 on Monday, as analysts at Rabobank and JPMorgan Chase said the currency has rallied too far.

Corruption clampdown

Ramaphosa said the ANC, which marked the 106th anniversary of its founding on Monday, needed to lead by example and that its leaders needed to serve with humility, modesty and commitment.

“We will adopt a value system to root out corruption within our ranks,” he said at a wreath-laying ceremony at Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal. “Corruption undermines the interest of our people as a whole.”

While unsuccessful bids to oust Zuma were made at NEC meetings in November 2016 and March last year, a number of its members have changed since the elective conference in December. His second and final term is due to end around mid-2019.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the NEC meeting agenda had yet to be determined, but the issue of Zuma’s early departure could be raised. “There are no no-go areas in that meeting,” Kodwa said by phone.

Darias Jonker, an Africa analyst at risk-advisory firm Eurasia Group, expects Zuma’s ouster to be delayed until the second quarter of the year even though his continued presence in office may hamper the ANC as it gears up to contest elections in 2019.

“Ramaphosa must still tolerate Zuma allies in the NEC and minimise tensions within the party by not appearing to have a personal agenda against Zuma,” Jonker said.

“Zuma loyalists, such as newly elected Secretary General Ace Magashule, remain in key party positions.”

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo says none of the grounds of review of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report have any merit and President Jacob Zuma is not entitled to the review he seeks.

Zuma had applied to the High Court for the State of Capture report to be reviewed and set aside.

Mlambo says the president was ill-advised and reckless to launch this review, adding that his court challenges had delayed resolution of state capture allegations.

Earlier on Wednesday found that the Public Protector does have the power to instruct the president to exercise executive authority.

This means the remedial action instructing Zuma to appoint a state capture commission of enquiry – led by a judge appointed by the chief justice – was lawful.

The court further held that the Public Protector’s powers are wide.

It also ruled that Zuma will have to foot the legal bill for trying to halt the state capture report.

Zuma has been dealt a second legal blow with the High Court dismissing his application to set aside the public protector’s state of capture remedial action.

The president has also been ordered to establish a commission of enquiry led by a judge chosen by the chief justice within 30 days.

The full bench in Pretoria rejected every ground of Zuma’s argument for review.

He was also ordered to personally pick up the costs of this application as he was ordered to pay the costs of an earlier application which was dismissed on Wednesday.

In the nearly two-hour judgment, Mlambo rejected each and every one of President Zuma’s grounds of review.

“None of the grounds of review has any merits and the president is not entitled to the relief that he seeks. The remedial action taken by the Public Protector is lawful, appropriate and reasonable and rational.”

He says Zuma’s statement to Parliament that he intended to establish a Commission of Enquiry undermined any basis to challenge the remedial action.

“The review application was a clear nonstarter and the president was seriously reckless in pursuing it as he has done. His conduct falls far short of the high standard expressed in Section 195 of the Constitution.”

The president has been ordered to establish the commission of enquiry, and fully support the judge appointed by the chief justice.

Rule of law upheld

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has given her first reaction to Wednesday’s judgment.

She says it upholds the rule of law and enforces accountability.

“The essence of this judgement is the rule of law… justice and as Judge President Mlambo said, it’s really about restating and reinforcing the rule of law.”

Madonsela was also asked about how the ANC should have responded to reports of state capture.

“I expected nothing from the governing party, given the fact that we govern through indirect democracy because of proportional representation. I believe that the governing party should’ve ensured that this matter is investigated.”

Victory of accountability

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has released a statement in response to Mlambo’s ruling.

The EFF welcomes the judgement of the North Gauteng High Court that Zuma must personally pay the legal costs in the case.

“We welcome this damning judgment as a victory of accountability because many public representatives use public resources to defend personal interests and not those of the state or the public.”

The EFF says Zuma is one individual who has used taxpayers’ money to defend personal wrongdoing.

He has engaged in expensive litigation not to defend public interest or even state interest, but a persona, the opposition party said.

“We call on Zuma to immediately comply with the directive of the court and personally pay all the costs of the litigation. He must waste no time and no single taxpayers’ cent to appeal a clear and cogent judgment.”

Read the whole State of Capture report here.

By Barry Bateman for EWN 

A new banking scam whereby fraudsters remotely take control of your PC over the Internet to gain access to consumer’s online banking profile is currently doing the rounds.

This is according to First National Bank (FNB), which alerted consumers about the latest festive season scam.

In a statement, FNB says fraudsters are sending unsuspecting consumers fake emails notifying them that fraud has occurred on their respective bank accounts’ or credit cards.

Soon after the email is sent the customer receives a call from a fraudster claiming to be from their bank and offers to help block any fraudulent transactions by first requesting the customer to install “protection” software on their computer, which allows the fraudster to gain full control of the computer remotely.

Kovelin Naidoo, cyber security officer at FNB, says fraudsters are employing carefully constructed scamming tactics that have the ability to trick even the most vigilant customer if they are not aware of the modus operandi.

“If someone calls you and requests your personal banking details or to install remote access software on your computer, please end the phone call and contact your banks’ fraud contact centre. FNB will never ask you to share your OTP to reverse pending transactions or to block your banking profile,” cautions Naidoo.

He adds: “As access to banking services through digital channels continues to grow, so does the prevalence of banking scams, therefore we urge consumers to always be vigilant and familiarise themselves with the different types of digital banking fraud, as well as the security measures provided by their respective banks.”

How fraudsters use the software to defraud consumers:

  • The fraudster calls the customer and offers to help them block any fraudulent transaction by asking him/her to download and install “protective” PC software.
  • The customer downloads the software, and with the help of the fraudster, installs it.
  • Once the software is installed, the fraudster asks the customer to log into his/her personal online banking profile.
  • After logging in, the customer’s computer goes blank. Shortly afterwards, he/she starts receiving OTP (one-time pin) SMS’ to confirm transactions he/she did not perform.
  • The fraudster then reassures the customer that these are fraudulent transactions and requests that he/she forwards the OTPs so that they can be blocked or reversed immediately.
  • The fraudster then uses the OTPs forwarded to him/her to process the pending transactions and defrauds the customer.

Source: IT Web






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