R10,000 bail for 2.5m life policy fraud accused

Fraud accused Siyanda Sezardino Diko, of Mvenyane Village in Ntabankulu, appears in the Mthatha magistrate's court.
STRICT CONDITIONS Fraud accused Siyanda Sezardino Diko, of Mvenyane Village in Ntabankulu, appears in the Mthatha magistrate's court.
Image: Lumile Feni

A Ntabankulu businessman accused of taking out a R2.5m life policy and trying to claim the payout in his own name was granted R10,000 bail on Tuesday with strict conditions.

Siyanda Sezardino Diko, 36, from Mvenyane village in Ntabankulu, appeared in the Mthatha magistrate’s court.

Diko, who owns a construction company, was arrested at his home by the Zwelitsha-based Eastern Cape police commercial crimes unit on Wednesday.

In one of the more bizarre bail conditions set, Diko is not allowed to interfere with or go near the grave of an unknown man.

During the bail application, his attorney, Siphiwo Mfeketho, argued that his client was self-employed and married with young children, and could raise only R3,500 for bail.

The state did not oppose bail.

But in an affidavit prepared by investigating officer Const Andiswa Mkhumbuzi, and read by prosecutor Sinethemba Sogayise, the state called for bail to be set at no less than R10,000, due to the fact that fraud is a schedule 5 offence.

Schedule 5 offences relate to extortion, fraud, forgery and theft, in respect to the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act involving amounts exceeding R50,000.

According to the charge sheet, Diko applied for a life policy of R2.5m in April 2018 at Liberty Life, through Standard Bank, listing himself as the beneficiary.

Diko is accused of committing fraud by trying to claim the R2.5m on the grounds that his “brother”, Siyanda Diko, had died.

However, preliminary investigations revealed that Siyanda Sezardino Diko and Siyanda Diko were in fact the same person.

Diko allegedly submitted false documents including a death certificate and postmortem results at Doves Funeral Parlour in Mthatha, and an unknown male was buried at Mbuqe cemetery in Mthatha.

Police do not know the identity of the man who was buried or how he died.

Magistrate Sibusiso Xolo warned that the large amount of money claimed, as well as the prevalence of such crimes, made the charges very serious ones.

“Although the money was not already transferred to the account of the accused by the time of his arrest, this does not take away the seriousness of the offence and his intention.

“If it was transferred he could have defrauded Liberty Life of R2.5m and that is a huge sum of money,” said Xolo.

The case was postponed to December 20 for further investigation.