Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

WATCH: R16.5m bursary fraud: Fidelis Moema suspended by Nedbank after ‘lying’ about KPMG dismissal

The former KPMG bursary specialist is seeking to be released on bail.

Fidelis Moema, the former KPMG employee accused of stealing R16.5 million in bursary funds, will remain in custody as he waits to find out whether he will be released on bail.

Moema returned to the dock in the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday for formal bail application after the case was postponed last week.

The former KPMG bursary specialist was joined, for the first time in court, by his alleged accomplices Trevor Machimana and Lebohang Sigubudu.

Their charges include fraud and money laundering.

Moema, who handed over himself to the police on 2 April, is accused of embezzling bursary funds intended for university students while employed at KPMG.

Fidelis Moema bail application

During the bail proceedings, Moema’s lawyer Thomas Hlungwani read his client’s affidavit in court, with the legal practitioner indicating that the former KPMG employee planned to plead not guilty during the trial.

Hlungwani told the court Moema wanted to be granted bail on the basis that he has no previous or pending criminal cases against him.

The 32-year-old stated that he was not a flight risk as he lives with his girlfriend and their two-year-old child.

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

He also contended that he was unfamiliar with the witnesses in the case and was prepared to adhere to all bail conditions.

According to his affidavit, the former KPMG bursary specialist can only afford bail of R25 000.

Moema is employed by Nedbank.

It, however, emerged that Moema reportedly did not inform his current employers that he was fired by KPMG in November 2022.

State prosecutor Valencia Dube told the court that Nedbank filed an affidavit, which revealed that Moema allegedly stated that he resigned from KPMG.

Nedbank reportedly confirmed that Moema was placed on precautionary suspension.

The affidavit also mentioned that his contract was scheduled to end on 30 April as he was employed on a fixed-term basis.

READ MORE: Approved bursaries not affected, says KPMG on R16.5m fraud by its employee

Dube pointed out that the state objected to Moema’s release on bail due to his past history of international travel although he has surrendered his passport.

It was further revealed that the former KPMG employee, who holds South African citizenship, was born in the United Kingdom (UK).

Suspects plead for release on bail

Machimana who is self-employed, stated in his bail affidavit that he would plead not guilty.

The suspect through his legal representative argued that denying him bail would result in financial loss for his family, citing the anticipated length of the case.

Machimana told the court that he could only afford R3 000 bail.

Meanwhile, Sigubudu asked to be released on R4 000 bail since he has dependents.

“I have children aged between 19 and four years old who all rely on me for financial support as my wife is currently back at school and has no income,” Sigubudu’s lawyer, Dumisani Mabunda read out his affidavit.

Sigubudu, who is employed at the Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD), said he would not evade his trial.

READ MORE: Hawks condemn ‘misleading’ info implicating members in R4m fraud

“I have a passport that I have already handed over to the police, but I do not have relatives outside the republic of South Africa.

“This, therefore, reduces any flight risk I may impose. I submit that I’m not a person who could easily forfeit any bail money,” the affidavit further reads.

He also denied the charges against him.

“I did not commit this crime and I deny the allegations against me. I was shocked when I received a call from an investigating officer to say that I’m linked to this crime.

“I immediately arranged to meet with him and I handed myself over to the police on Thursday, 11 April, in Sandton.”

KPMG funds diverted

According to the state, Machimana and Sigubudu purportedly received direct money deposits from KPMG without providing any services.

They allegedly retained a portion of the funds and transferred the remainder to Moema.

Moema allegedly utilised his former partners to launder money. These former girlfriends have reportedly become state witnesses.

Images and videos showcasing Moema’s opulent lifestyle, from lavish trips to Greece to extravagant helicopter gender reveals for his child, dominated social media trends following his arrest.

Judgment in the bail hearing will be delivered on Friday.

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fraud KPMG money laundering