THE Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation has launched an extended search for Sonja Joubert (headline photo), a woman who has been implicated in a fraud and corruption case involving former racehorse owner Adriaan Van Vuuren, the former Trudon IT Manager who is alleged to have relieved Telkom subsidiary Trudon of R500 million. Van Vuuren’s whereabouts also remain unknown.

It is alleged that between 2007 and 2016, Van Vuuren fraudulently created invoices to pay a supplier for IT services required by Trudon on behalf of Telkom. Trudon transferred funds into Bites Bee Holding and The Corporate Choice’s accounts owned by his accomplice, Sonja Joubert, who also benefited from the alleged fraud.

Articles published in the general media have speculated that Joubert had based herself in New Zealand and that Van Vuuren had possibly joined her more or less at the time his bank accounts were frozen on 13 February.

However, Warrant Officer Jonathan Makhado told Turf Talk on Saturday: “We do not believe that Sonja Joubert is in New Zealand. She could be hiding in South Africa. The photo we have published is of her, that is definitely of her.”

We were referred to Lt. Colonel Sam Komane of the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Unit, who commented: “We are still looking for both individuals and no arrests have been made. We’d appreciate any help.”

The SAPS posted a request for help in this investigation on Facebook yesterday, which was met with 89 comments, most of which surprisingly contained racial slurs and fierce arguments about which section of the South African population would include the biggest thieves and fraudsters  –  instead of leads that could possibly assist the investigators.

It appears that the normally active Facebook Profiles of both Adriaan and his wife Rika Van Vuuren had been deactivated, while no current profile resembling Joubert could be found.

Anyone with valid information can contact the investigation officer, Warrant Officer Jonathan Makhado on 071 481 3603.

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