Three arrested in SA for stealing K275m foodstuffs meant for Malawi


The Hawks in South Africa have arrested three people for stealing and selling foodstuffs worth K275 million which were meant for a relief operation in Malawi.

The three are directors of a company which was hired to transport the food items.

According to South African media reports, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) donated foodstuffs to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its humanitarian relief in Malawi. The supplies included tons of refined vegetable oil and yellow split peas, all worth over R5 million (about K275 million).

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) registered a criminal case of fraud in contravention of the Value Added Tax Act and Excise Act in June 2017 after it became clear that something was amiss.

An investigation conducted by the Hawks has revealed that the goods were initially stored in a bonded warehouse in Durban.

It has also emerged that the company where the suspects work was tasked to transport the piles but this never took place as the goods never left the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The tons of items were instead sold for self-gain in South Africa.

The suspects who are aged 51, 44 and 62 face several charges and they are expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Commercial Crime Court on 08 June 2021.