Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Woman to spend 12 years in jail after stealing R16m from company

Lizette Marielle Steyn used the stolen funds to install solar panels in her house and pay for her daughter’s wedding.


A woman who stole R16m from her company over three years will spend the next 12 years behind bars, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

The Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court last week sentenced 56-year-old former finance and administration manager of AgriCAD, Lizette Marielle Steyn, for 85 counts of theft.

Steyn was employed by AgriCAD, a company that manufactures agricultural implements, from 12 February 2019.

Among her responsibilities was to load the creditors for payment on the business bank account every month and do the day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting.

ALSO READ: KPMG staffer’s lavish lifestyle revealed after R16.5m fraud arrest

Theft of R16m

NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said Steyn had full access to AgriCAD’s Absa bank accounts.

“During her employment, Steyn would change the details of one of the AgriCAD Absa bank accounts and replace it with her six different personal Capitec accounts. From 27 October 2020 until 9 May 2023, 85 different payments of over R16 million for the company were paid into her personal bank accounts.

“With the funds, Steyn installed solar panels in her house and bought luxury items, a caravan, and a vehicle for her son-in-law. She also paid for her daughter’s wedding, and her family’s weekends away and holidays,” Mahanjana said.

Steyn was arrested on 18 July 2023 and has been in custody since.

ALSO READ: Markus Jooste ‘would have been the golden goose for the Hawks’

Lizette Marielle Steyn claims ill health

During court proceedings, she pleaded guilty to the charges and said she stole the money to pay debts because her husband lost his job.

She asked the court to consider her ill health and that she is a first-time offender when imposing a sentence.

However, the prosecutor, advocate Rachelle van der Walt argued that as much as Steyn was a first-time offender, her offences were committed over three years and that she was employed in a position of trust.

Van der Walt said that Steyn betrayed that trust and was not hesitant to hide her dishonest conduct.

Judgment

In delivering the sentence, Magistrate Ignatius du Preez said Steyn pleaded guilty because she had no other option.

“Her change of heart and acknowledgement of her criminal conduct originated from being caught and not from her true inner feelings of regret. Therefore, she had no choice but to concede defeat. Steyn committed the offence when she was at an age where it was expected of her to be able to distinguish between right from wrong, but she failed dismally.

“Furthermore, courts are increasingly faced with the situation where offenders with medical challenges commit serious offences, as such illness cannot be used as a license to commit crime,” Du Preez said.

ALSO READ: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula granted R50k bail with conditions

Read more on these topics

Absa National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) theft