Brought to account: Absa ‘fraudster’ joins several ex-employees caught with fingers in the till

Xolela Masebeni is only one of many former Absa employees arrested or convicted for defrauding the bank in recent years.

Xolela Masebeni is only one of many former Absa employees arrested or convicted for defrauding the bank in recent years. Reuters

  • Xolela Masebeni is the latest Absa employee to be arrested for allegedly defrauding the bank.
  • He is the latest of many former Absa employees apprehended or convicted for the same crime in recent years.
  • Absa says there is no cause for concern as it acts decisively against implicated employees and has improved its controls.

The Absa employee who was arrested by the Hawks for allegedly stealing more than R100 million from the bank joins a number of former colleagues who were apprehended for the same offence in recent years.

That said, Xolela Masebeni – who was arrested in Queenstown last week for allegedly transferring R103 million undetected in numerous transactions in just four months – appears to have been the most brazen to date.

Absa told Fin24 that no client accounts were affected by Masebeni’s alleged actions. But this was not the case in some of the previous matters the Hawks pursued involving Absa employees.

Fin24 has put together a list of other recent cases where several Absa employees were arrested for allegedly defrauding the bank, and sometimes customers.

These include the following:

  • In 2020, a 27-year-old Absa consultant, Sydwell Mudzanani, was arrested in Limpopo for stealing R25 million from provincial government accounts and depositing it into different accounts he had opened. In October that year, the Hawks arrested a second suspect, Dzulani Mashau, for allegedly being in cahoots with Mudzanani in committing that crime.
  • Also, in 2020, an Absa customer service clerk in Gqeberha, Siphokazi Katyu, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for unlawfully changing a customer’s banking details and defrauding that client of R1.1 million in 2015.
  • In 2017, a sales consultant from the Free State, Moses Moroe, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for defrauding the bank of R366 000 over two years.

Absa said it takes matters of fraud seriously and has taken further measures to enhance its controls.

“We expect every single employee to uphold the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for any deviations in this regard,” said an Absa spokesperson by email.

According to the Hawks, it was Absa that reported the latest case to the authorities following an internal investigation.

The bank said it acts decisively against employees who have committed misconduct or breached its controls in this manner. It said it will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to ensure that it maintains the highest levels of integrity.