Colleen Khumalo, the former CEO of the worker health programme at the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), has appeared in court on charges of fraud involving R50m.
Khumalo’s arrest and subsequent appearance in the Cape Town Regional Court on Thursday stems from an investigation by the Hawks into allegations of misappropriated funds donated from the US intended for nonprofit organisations fighting the spread of transmissible diseases.
“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,” said a statement on Friday by Hawks spokesman Captain Philani Nkwalase.
Bere was arrested at the Beitbridge border post while on his way to Zimbabwe on August 24 last year after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
He was transported to Cape Town after a brief appearance in the Musina Magistrate’s Court. He was granted R100,000 bail on September 12 2018 by the Cape Town Regional Court on stringent conditions.
“Khumalo is alleged to have submitted fraudulent invoices exceeding R50-million 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,” said the Hawks.
“The duo appeared together and their case was postponed to 29 April 2019, for further investigation. Khumalo was released on R20,000 bail whilst Bere’s is still out on R100,000 bail.”
The funds were to have been used to provide healthcare services to key groups and individuals in the bid to fight the spread of transmissible diseases.
Bere‚ a US resident who was born in Zimbabwe‚ got his PhD in mucosal immunology from the University of Cape Town in 2010. He works as the branch head for prevention of HIV and TB for the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
TimesLIVE reported earlier that while applying for bail he said he would “most likely” contract diseases in South Africa’s unhygienic prisons if he was not released from custody.
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