Durban: Adriaan Pillay, a former information technology employee at Cell C, appeared alone in Johannesburg’s commercial tort court last week.
Pillay, who was charged with fraud and corruption in the amount of Rand 130 million, was due to appear with his co-accused, Ismail Adanjee Mohamed, 44, but the latter fell ill. As a result, the 39-year-old’s lawyer requested an adjournment.
Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu, spokesman for the Hawks, said the case would be heard on August 25 for disclosure.
“This means that the defense will have the opportunity to take cognizance of the file concerning the alleged offense committed by the suspects,” Mulamu said.
Pillay and Mohamed were arrested separately following investigations by the Hawks Serious Commercial Crimes Investigation Team in Germiston.
Cell C had opened prosecutions for fraud and corruption against several suspects and companies, including the co-defendants.
It is alleged that Cell C discovered that the co-accused conspired with a director of an outsourced entity responsible for IT and network service providers and falsely inflated the bills. This resulted in a loss of more than R 130 million from 2012 to 2019. Both defendants allegedly overcharged Cell C for the goods ordered and shared the profits between themselves and those involved.
Mulamu said investigations began in 2020, following an internal audit of the mobile phone company.
Mohamed was arrested in January and was the first suspect linked to the case. He was released on 50,000 rand bail. Pillay was arrested a month later after an arrest warrant was issued against him. He also obtained a bond of 50,000 rand.
Prior to their arrests, the C-cell legal team, BDK lawyers, raided their homes and collected evidence in accordance with a High Court order. The evidence is in the custody of the sheriff according to the order.
According to documents from the Johannesburg High Court, Cell C sought an order on the grounds of possible collusion between the accused, Cornastone Enterprise Systems, and an entity called Techno Genius. This concerned the IT goods and services that Cell C purchased from Cornastone between 2012 and today. Cornastone is one of the suppliers of Cell C.
Mohamed was, according to court documents, employed by Cell C from January 2002 to May 7, 2020. Since September 2011, he was an executive in support of business operations. During his employment, Mohamed was involved in IT related procurement.
Pillay was employed by Cell C from September 2004 to July 2014. He was Mohamed’s subordinate and reported to him. Pillay reportedly resigned in July 2014 while disciplinary proceedings were pending against him. The background to the disciplinary proceedings was not disclosed.
Cell C allegedly discovered the collusion in March 2020. They found that whenever it made payments to Cornastone for goods delivered or services rendered as a result of a procurement process, Cornastone allegedly paid part of the payment. at Techno Genius and / or Pillay. This part would come from an inflated bill.
From 2012 to date, whenever Cell C needed to purchase IT goods or services, it would send a request for quotes to three or four vendors with specific business requirements, according to court documents.
âCornastone was one such supplier. Adamjee (Mohamed) was tasked with reviewing quotes received from targeted suppliers. Due to his knowledge of other suppliers’ pricing, Adamjee compared the prices and quotes provided by Cornastone to Cell C, making it easier to get quotes from Cornastone.
“Through Adamjee’s influence, Cell C would contract Cornastone as the ‘preferred supplier’ for the required IT goods and / or services, unaware that Cornastone’s quotes are overstated.”
Where Cell C would have paid Cornastone for the goods and services purchased, Cornastone retained the amount corresponding to the price in good faith and paid the exaggerated part to Techno Genius and / or Pillay.
Cell C allegedly discovered that Pillay was the sole director of Techno Genius and that he and Mohamed were business associates.
“They each own a 50% co-ownership of House and Home Refurbishments CC.”
In May 2020, several representatives of Cell C reportedly met Mohamed and presented him with an email, which they discovered. The email was reportedly sent from his Google email account in Cornastone and concerned a payment to be made to Techno Genius.
This would have led Cell C to believe that Mohamed was using his Google mail and other private email accounts to correspond with Cornastone and Techno Genius regarding procurement activities.
Angela Nala, spokesperson for Cell C, said: âCell C has a policy of zero tolerance towards illegal or unethical activities and will not hesitate to act based on evidence and take appropriate action. . The company fully supports the authorities in the matter and will allow the law to take its course.