Ponzi-scheme suspect Tannenbaum faces arrest

Arrest warrants for the masterminds of a Ponzi scheme that led to wealthy South Africans being swindled out of billions of rands have been issued by the police, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced in Parliament on Tuesday.

Speaking during his medium-term budget speech, Gordhan deviated from his prepared statement to announce that the pair of lawyer Dean Rees and businessman Barry Tannenbaum would be arrested soon.

The pair has been identified as the alleged brains behind an elaborate fraudulent scheme involving billions of rands that led to the likes of former Pick n Pay chief executive Sean Summers losing millions of rands.

A joint task team consisting of the police, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) was subsequently formed to investigate the scheme.

Spokesperson for the elite crime-fighting Hawks unit Musa Zondi confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that the two will soon be facing the music.

Gordhan also announced that R78-million would be made available to the Department of Police in order to train more than 22 000 police officers in order to “strengthen detective services and crime intelligence”.

Institute of Security Studies crime researcher Johan Burger said part of this number of police personnel is to bolster the dearth of specialised policemen in the detective services as identified by the Criminal Justice Review spearheaded by former justice minister Johnny De Lange last year.

He added that the increase from just under R50-billion to the proposed R78-billion could be attributed to the country’s hosting of the World Cup next year.

Gordhan said the allocation to police would increase to more than R100-million by 2012.

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