Travel Agency owner get 6 years for defrauding government

Bathandwa Bazukile Ndyamara, 35, was found guilty of fraud and was sentenced by the East London Regional Court to six years in direct prison without the possibility of parole.

Ndyamara attempted to defraud the Department of Education in Zwelitsha of R2 million, according to Captain Yolisa Mgolodela, the regional spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).

Mgolodela stated that in July 2019, Siyawela Travelling, a travel company owned by Ndyamara, was registered in the Basic Accounting System of Education and used to make supplier payments.

The education department sent Ndyamara a request for quotes through email asking him to find lodging for students and teachers who would be attending seminars in the Mthatha, Gqeberha, and Komani districts.

“He was directed to source quotations from Royal Lodge, which is reported to be in Queenstown, Bay Lodge in Gqeberha, and Fairview Lodge in Mthatha. “He then requested the quotations from the respective lodges and paid more than R2 million into the bank accounts reflected on the quotations as an endeavor to secure accommodation for the pupils and educators.

“Ndyamara submitted invoices to the Department of Education and was not paid because the department detected that request for quotes was a scam as the department had already paid for the same order numbers,” Mgolodela said. She said that the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit, situated in East London, was immediately tasked with looking into this situation.

On December 21, 2021, Ndyamara was arrested as a result of the inquiry. He was given a bail of R5000 at the time, and on May 10 he was found guilty of fraud. The provincial head, Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya, praised the decision. For the counts of fraud, Ndyamara received a direct 6-year sentence with no chance of a fine. On July 26, 2022, Bathandwa Bazukile Ndyamara (35), was sentenced by the East London Regional Court.

The chance of becoming a victim of fraud has increased for South Africans over the past year. The most recent numbers, which were just made public by the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service, mirror these patterns (SAFPS). The data contrasts the first five months of 2022 with the corresponding period in 2021.)

“This is particularly concerning given the economic climate that we are currently facing,” says Manie van Schalkwyk, CEO of the SAFPS, “consumers are facing a significant cycle of high inflation and are looking for ways to make ends meet. This makes them increasingly vulnerable to scams and schemes which are being carried out by highly motivated, highly skilled fraud syndicates.”

South Africans are renowned for having a ubuntu spirit. Whether a local South African or a foreigner asks for assistance, South Africans will make every effort to assist the individual in need. A money mule is one of the offenses that the SAFPS has observed an increase. This occurs when someone contacts another individual and requests permission to use their account to send money to a relative who lives abroad. “While this should immediately be a red flag, you will be surprised at how many people willingly comply in the hope that they can be of assistance,” says Van Schalkwyk. Unfortunately, this then opens the door for fraudsters to take significant advantage of their victim.

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