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2023/10/19      |  Written By:  Lieutenant Colonel S Vukubi   |   Province:  Western Cape

WESTERN CAPE- The Hawks' Bellville based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team have on 18 October 2023 arrested George Schutte (35) on charges of theft and money laundering.

It is reported that the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa based in Bellville were mandated to administer the priests' pension funds. Stephanie van der Merwe (who is now deceased) was employed by the church as the Pension Funds Administrator. It was discovered that between October 2018 and May 2020, she unlawfully transferred funds in excess of R5 million from the bank account of the church to various bank accounts. These funds constituted proceeds of the unlawful acts of fraud and theft.

Through thorough investigation by the Hawks, it was established that the deceased deposited the money to two bank accounts of Schutte. The latter allowed the deceased to use his bank accounts in order for the funds to be transferred into his bank accounts. It was further revealed that between April 2019 and May 2020, various transactions occurred in Schutte's bank accounts to the amount of  R 1 955 100.00.

The accused have appeared at the Bellville Magistrates' Court on 18 October 2023 and granted R5000 bail. The matter is remanded to 24 November 2023 for Regional Court date.