Former health unionist in court over R50m fraud of US donor funds

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

Colleen Khumalo, SACTWU

Former CEO of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union’s Worker Health Programme, Colleen Khumalo, has appeared in the Cape Town Regional Court on charges of fraud involving R50m, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation said in an IoL report.

Spokesperson for the Hawks, Captain Philani Nkwalase said 51-year-old Khumalo was arrested and appeared in court last Thursday. The report says the arrest followed a Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation in 2018. Allegations were that the accused misappropriated funds donated from the US.

“The funds were meant to be redistributed to deserving non-profit organisations (NPO) to fight the spread of transmissible diseases by providing health care services to key groups and individuals,” Nkwalase said.

“The initial investigations connected Zimbabwe-born US citizen, virologist and South African branch chief at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Alfred Bere, to the mismanagement of donor funding for Sactwu’s Worker Health Programme.”

Nkwalase said in the report that Bere was arrested at the Beitbridge border post on 24 August, 2018 while on his way to Zimbabwe. A warrant of arrest was issued against him. He was transported to Cape Town after his brief appearance at the Musina Magistrate’s Court.

“Bere was kept in custody until he was granted R100,000 bail on 12 September 2018 by the Cape Town Regional Court with stringent conditions by the same court,” Nkwalase said. “Khumalo is alleged to have submitted fraudulent invoices exceeding R50m from different companies and NPO and the amount is subject to increase. This was done in common cause along with several other business entities or persons during the period between 2016 and 2018.”

Nkwalase said the two appeared in court together and their case was postponed to 29 April, for further investigation. Khumalo was released on R20,000 bail whilst Bere is still out on R100,000 bail, Nkwalase said in the report.

IoL report

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