A FORMER bank employee who defrauded clients out of thousands of rands can count himself lucky after he narrowly escaped being sent to jail.
Siyasanga Caga, 30, was sentenced to three years correctional supervision and a further three years jail suspended for four years.
He was also placed under house arrest for the duration of sentence and has to do 16 hours of community service at a police station.
Caga, a former First National Bank employee, earlier pleaded guilty to 108 counts of fraud.
Between 2006 and 2007 Caga made 25 withdrawals totalling R34700 and used the money to buy goods.
Magistrate Ignatius Kitching said he found it hard to believe that the man before him was the same as the one described in the correctional supervision report by his mother, colleagues and supervisor at the bank .
The report described him as a hard worker and a very reliable person, who brought much joy and support to his family.
Kitching said in reaching his decision, he took into consideration the fact that the accused was a first offender, offered to pay back the money, had co-operated fully when arrested and pleaded guilty to the crime. He added that this was a sign of remorse.
However, he lashed out at the accused and said he had committed the crime because of greed as he was earning a salary at the time.
“This was not a spur of the moment thing, it was a well planned and executed crime which the accused had plenty of time to reflect and stop,” said Kitching.
In mitigation of sentence, defence lawyer Mawanda Njenge argued that Caga had acknowledged that what he had done was wrong when he pleaded guilty to 108 counts of fraud.
He argued that his client was a first time offender, who had shown remorse and had paid some of the amount back to FNB.
“On the day of his arrest, he apologised to the bank’s managers for his dishonesty,” said Njenge.
Arguing for the state, Special Investigating Unit advocate Elna Smit said Caga was a cashier for a year and that the bank had put him in a position of trust. B y defrauding it he had betrayed that trust and that of its customers.
She argued that the accused started defrauding the bank from November 2006 and continued until he was arrested in June 2007. “He had plenty of time to stop what he was doing but he still continued. It was solely because of greed,” Smit said. – By SIBONGILE MKANI