The Johannesburg Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team has arrested three Directors for allegedly defrauding over R5 million worth of foodstuffs that was donated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its humanitarian relief.

The supplies that included tons of refined vegetable oil and yellow split peas were meant for a relief operation in Malawi. 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.

The Hawks’ were then entrusted with the investigation which has now shed light to the fact that the goods were initially stored in a bonded warehouse in Durban. The suspects’ company was tasked to transport the piles but this never took place. It has since emerged that the goods never left the Republic of South Africa (RSA) but were instead sold for self-gain from within the country at the detriment of the needy.

All three suspects aged 51, 44 and 62 were served with court summons on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. They are expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday, 08 June 2021 to face a raft of charges.