- The court heard that the money Johannes Willem Gieselbach stole was donated by the public to the centre for children and adults with severe disability.
- The Specialised Commercial Crimes Court also ordered Gieselbach to repay R986 706 of the R1.2m he stole from his employer.
- Between April 2016 and May 2019, on 168 instances, Gieselbach substituted the banking details of Aurora Special Care Centre’s creditors and suppliers with his.
An Eastern Cape bookkeeper who stole R1.2m from a care centre for children and adults with severe mental and physical disability, was sentenced to eight years in prison for 168 counts of theft on Wednesday.
Port Elizabeth Specialised Commercial Crimes Court magistrate Lionel Lindoor also ordered Johannes Willem Gieselbach to repay R986 706 of the R1.2 millionhe stole from Aurora Special Care Centre in Port Elizabeth.
The 45-year-old was employed as a bookkeeper at the Port Elizabeth care centre from January 2016 to June 2019.
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His duties included the capturing of bank statement transactions and administering payments to creditors and suppliers of the care centre, the National Prosecuting Authority said in a statement.
NPA spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani said Gieselbach had direct access to the banking system of Aurora and, apart from the general manager of the care centre, had the power to authorise payments to creditors and suppliers.
“From April 2016 to May 2019, on 168 instances, he manipulated the company system and substituted the banking details of Aurora’s creditors and suppliers with his own. Consequently, a total of R1 907 492.30 was deposited into Gieselbach’s three bank accounts.
“In an effort to conceal the crime, he, on various occasions, paid some of the creditors and suppliers of Aurora amounts totalling R 692 785.36. The payments were made during his tenure as a bookkeeper. Therefore, the actual loss to the care centre is just over R 1.2 million.”
Gieselbach was arrested by the Hawks in September 2019. He pleaded guilty to all 168 counts of theft during February 2020.
Senior prosecutor, advocate Lise Keech, told the court: “Gieselbach stole money which was donated by the public to children and adults who were severely disabled. This is the worst theft as that money was meant to take care of their needs; he abused power as he was in a position of trust.”