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MANZINI - While Fidelity Security Services officers were transporting money on behalf of First National Bank (FNB), a money bag loaded with E100 000 was stolen by the security company supervisor.

The supervisor, Sifiso Samson Mhlongo (44) of Mawombe, was eventually arrested and charged with the theft of the money.
He appeared before Magistrate Mthokozisi Dlamini at the Matsapha Circuit Court.
In statements submitted in court, the security company’s Human Resources Manager, Lindumuzi Ntuli, said they received an email from FNB that part of their money was missing.

This was despite that it had been signed for and received by the company.
After engaging with one of the managers, Ntuli said he was informed that a gunner, Vusi Hlophe, wanted to have a meeting with them.
“We met and he informed us that he had found a money bag inside a strong room where the company’s guns were kept. Hlophe said he had taken the bag with the money and handed it over to his boss, Sifiso Mhlongo, with the hope that he would do the same and report to his superiors,” Ntuli alleged in the statements.


He revealed that after they had received the email from FNB about the missing money, the company approached Mhlongo and questioned him about the money bag which was handed over to him.
However, he denied knowledge of it.

“He said he was never given a money bag by the company gunner. We decided to report the incident to the company directors and a polygraph test was conducted. The results revealed that Mhlongo was indeed given the money by Hlophe,” Ntuli also alleged.

Hlophe, when leading evidence, said while preparing to transport some money to Nhlangano, Mhlongo had ordered him to identify money bags which had been placed on the floor inside the strong room.

“One of the money bags had an FNB tag and it was heavy. I could tell that there was money inside. I handed it over to Mhlongo, my manager, who promised that he would hand it over to the bank as soon as possible,” Hlophe alleged.

He added that he was shocked when he later learnt that an amount of E100 000 belonging to FNB was missing. Hlophe alleged he strongly believed that the missing money was the same he had previously handed over to his manager, Mhlongo.

The company’s Cash Solution Officer, Mlungisi Tsabedze, said Hlophe had informed him about money which was in a money bag and which he had handed over to Mhlongo.


“Two weeks later, our supervisor, Mhlongo informed us that FNB had reported that there was missing money and they suspected that it was left in money bags used to transport money to ATMs. He further informed us that the banks’ officials had checked surveillance cameras and confirmed that the money was forgotten in an orange money bag,” Tsabedze alleged.

While evidence was led, it was revealed that about E13 million was fed in local FNB automated teller machines (ATMs).
The bank’s ATM Custodian, Thobile Zwane, said on the day of the incident, treasury custodians had allocated about E13 million as per procedure. She said Fidelity Security Services had given them orange bags sealed with the banks tags, which were loaded with money and handed back to the company.

“We received an email that an ATM situated at The Gables  was loaded with money which was E100 000 less,” Zwane said
She added that after the checks were conducted, it was discovered that the money was indeed short by E100 000.  Zwane said after going through the footages, it was revealed that the money was left in an orange bag kept by Fidelity Security Services after an ATM cash-loading.

“We reported the incident to Fidelity who immediately contacted the police. The police called us to the police station and they introduced us to Mhlongo who was found in possession of the money. He had already used E6 000 and there was about E94 000 left,” Zwane alleged.
Mhlongo told the court that he was tempted to steal the money as he had personal needs at the time and the money had idled inside the strong room for a long time.

“I had issues which were personal and not related to work. I stole the money and later on regretted it, however when I wanted to return it, I got scared,” he said.
It was also revealed that the accused hid the money near a mission church, situated in Mpaka where he dug a pit.


During mitigation, Mhlongo said he was remorseful of his actions and pleaded with the court to be lenient with him as he had two children who solely depended on him.
“I would also like to apologise to FNB, my employer, Fidelity Security Services as I have painted a bad picture and embarrassed the companies. I regret my actions and would like the court to also note that a major part of the money was recovered,” Mhlongo said

Public Prosecutor Fakazi Mngomezulu ordered that after evidence had been led, the accused be found guilty of stealing the money belonging to the bank.
Magistrate Dlamini remanded the accused in custody where he ordered that he be jailed seven days before his sentencing this week.

This is despite that Mhlongo had been released through bail by the High Court.

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