South Africa

Suspected Sassa fraudsters granted bail of R10,000 each

Suspected Sassa fraudsters granted bail of R10,000 each

Two of the three men who allegedly planned to hack the Sassa system and steal money intended for social grants have been granted bail by the Nelspruit magistrate’s court, the Hawks said.

Brian Mfundo Masina, 28, and Moses Khumalo, 36, were each granted R10,000 bail on Wednesday, while their accomplice, 40-year-old Mathole Sydwel Masilela, saw his bail bid fail.

The trio was arrested by a multidisciplinary team led by the Hawks’ serious corruption investigation unit during an intelligence-driven operation in Mbombela on July 24.

“This followed a tip-off that they had approached a Sassa official and enticed her to assist them in hacking into the Sassa system to register bogus beneficiaries,” Capt Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said.

Sekgotodi said Masilela was denied bail after it came to light that he was already on R30,000 bail regarding similar offences in East London, where he allegedly targeted social grant outlets and post offices.

Sekgotodi said an electronic device which was intended to be used to extract information, a laptop, a scanner, Sassa cards and the suspect’s vehicle were seized during the operation.

If the ploy had worked, the trio would have had access to Sassa beneficiaries' accounts. It was not clear whether any of them had ties to Sassa.

The three face charges of corruption, fraud, conspiracy to commit an offence and contravention of the Electronic Communications Act. The matter was postponed to October 22, pending further investigation.