At least R1 million was found in a black box inside a shopping trolley at a Pretoria East shopping mall was forfeited to the State. The money had allegedly been promised to a SA Reserve Bank official as a bribe.
Another R4m in a bank account, also allegedly promised to the official as a bribe, has also been forfeited to the State in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. This was after the National Director of Public Prosecutions in February obtained an order to preserve the money. Both orders were granted in chambers of judges at the high court in Pretoria.
The money in the black box was confiscated during a trap set for a woman identified in court papers as Tian Wang.
The official who she allegedly tried to bribe, Andre Malherbe, led the police to Wang after he pretended that he would accept her bribe.
According to documents before the judge, Wang was waiting for Malherbe inside the smoking section of the Spur at Brooklyn Centre, with the trolley containing the black box which contained R200 and R100 notes, amounting to exactly R1 000 300.
A member of the Serious Corruption Investigation Unit of the police, Colonel Zama Basi, said in a statement which formed part of the court papers that Malherbe informed him of a woman who had been constantly calling him to release large amounts of money which were blocked by the Reserve Bank.
Malherbe manages investigations into alleged contraventions of exchange control regulations. In this capacity he blocked certain funds which came in from abroad, as they did not seem above board. He initiated an investigation into the source of the funds. Part of the money was a transfer of foreign currency from a company abroad, which totalled R700m.
Falsified documents were allegedly submitted to the bank to which the money was transferred. It was established that Wang was the director of the alleged shady company.
Basi said she was also a suspect in other matters being investigated by the Reserve Bank.
In this regard an amount of nearly R60m was also blocked.
Basi said Wang phoned Malherbe in July last year and offered him R25m if he unblocked the money from the accounts. She apparently said she would arrange for the money to be transferred to a bank account in Hong Kong from where Malherbe could access it.
Malherbe became concerned about this and reported it to his senior at work. Police were informed.
He and Wang met at the shopping centre, where she showed Malherbe a list of her clients and the amounts of money she had transferred over a period of time.
According to Malherbe these amounts ran into billions of rand.
The SAPS, meanwhile, obtained permission to trap Wang and Malherbe again met her in November last year at the shopping mall. Undercover police were with him.
As he approached her in the restaurant, he saw the black box in the trolley and asked her if it contained the R1m promised to him.
She allegedly confirmed this and told him about R3m to R4m more was awaiting him in a few weeks’ time.
Wang took the money from the trolley and allowed Malherbe a glimpse inside.
The officers arrested her.