Business couple Sibusiso and Ntombizodwa Tshabalala, who own Bundu Lodge in Nelspruit, have been charged with cooking the books for personal gain.
Bundu Lodge owners arrested for fraud
The couple was recently released on R5 000 bail each after a brief appearance at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court.
An investigation led by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit exposed the alleged fraud and money laundering activities the Bundu Lodge owners were allegedly fattening themselves with.
According to police spokesperson Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, their demise came at the hands of a third partner in the lodge, who was allegedly left out of the gravy train by the Tshabalalas.
The Hawks have reason to believe that the couple had forged invoices to the tune of R200 000, posing as creditors of Bundu Lodge. In a not-so-sophisticated money grab, the Tshabalalas allegedly siphoned the money into their personal accounts but cooked the books so that it appeared to be payments made to creditors for monies owed.
“The invoices amounting to over R200 000-00 were for services that were never rendered and the money was allegedly paid into their personal accounts without the knowledge of the third partner,” Captain Sekgotodi noted in a statement.
Something smells foul and it comes from the books
Suspecting foul play in the ongoings of the lodge, the third partner who, at this time, remains unnamed, ordered an independent audit of the Bundu Lodge financial records and that’s where the cookie crumbled for the Tshabalalas.
The Hawks were brought into the investigation to further trace the money and low and behold, it all ended in the bank accounts of the Tshabalalas.
The Bundu Lodge owners are currently out on bail and their next court date has been scheduled for Tuesday 22 September 2020. If found guilty, the couple could face as much as 15 years imprisonment.