See how a Nigerian man scammed Pretoria municipality of over R12 million

A Nigerian man, Charles Ugochukwu Onuaha, appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court yesterday, facing charges of defrauding the City of Tshwane.

The 53-year-old was arrested on 26 April following an investigation that led authorities to his home in Durban.

Onuaha is alleged to have orchestrated a scam that saw a massive payment meant for a City of Tshwane service provider diverted to his personal account.

He allegedly used the credentials of a city official to alter the bank details of the service provider on the city’s supply chain accounting software.

“A payment of R12 127 644,51 was then allegedly made to the accused’s account,” said Warrant Officer Wendy Nkabi, spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).

“The city only became aware of the problem after the service provider complained about non-payment.”

The city contacted the bank, who froze the account, but only R9 630 735,41 of the initial payment remained.

Onuaha is further alleged to have submitted his own death certificate to his bank in an attempt to deceive them.

“Further investigation was conducted with the Department of Home Affairs to authenticate the death certificate. It was discovered that the certificate was fraudulent,” confirmed Nkabi.

The matter was postponed to 24 June for the bail application and to acquire an Igbo interpreter.

The case highlights the growing concern over fraud in South Africa.

According to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service, incidents of fraud reported increased by 32% in 2023.

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