In a dramatic turn of events in a Cape Town courtroom, a former financial manager and his partner faced the music for swiping a hefty R15m from their employer. This high-stakes heist left the company’s MD digging into his own pockets to keep things afloat.
David Marais, 55, once a trusted financial manager at a health risk management services company, received a 12-year sentence. His life partner, Brian Wilson, 49, didn’t get off easy either, bagging six years as the co-accused.
How They Pulled It Off
Eric Ntabazalila, the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, shed light on the scheme. Marais, who had the keys to the company’s coffers, siphoned off more than R15.4m between April 2018 and April 2019. He funnelled this cash into his and Wilson’s bank accounts, pretending the payments were for creditors and service providers.
The pair’s spending spree wasn’t just lavish; it was strategic. They gambled away the money, aiming to blur any trail of their financial misdeeds.
Their greed didn’t just hit the company’s wallet; it struck the staff too. With overheads skyrocketing to over R1m monthly, the company’s MD had to dip into his personal funds, even forking out R1.5m for VAT payments. The ripple effect? Staff bonuses were a no-show for three years.
The Great Escape and Capture
After the accusations surfaced, Marais and Wilson made a dash for Ireland, later hopping over to Georgia. But their run from justice was short-lived. Tracked down and extradited back to South Africa, they finally faced the consequences of their actions.
Marais initially got an 18-year sentence, but the court suspended six years, given he stays out of trouble during this period. Wilson’s 12-year sentence also saw a six-year suspension under similar conditions.