Sonya Joubert, wife of Francois, a former pastor who is currently employed with Samaritan’s Purse, has been accused of defrauding the company Trudon of $50 million over a period of nine years. The Stuff reports:
Here in New Zealand, Sonya Joubert’s friends and neighbours know her as the friendly wife of a former church pastor.
But South African police have this week revealed they want to extradite her to stand trial for allegedly stealing $50 million from a big telecommunications company, and going on the run.
The nation’s elite police crime-fighting unit, The Hawks, have launched a manhunt for Joubert, 43, who they say is “hiding” in New Zealand.
Joubert’s attorney in Auckland, Chris Patterson, said his client denied any wrongdoing and she would not return to South Africa. “There is no extradition treaty between New Zealand and South Africa,” said Patterson.
JJoubert’s attorney in Auckland, Chris Patterson, said his client denied any wrongdoing and she would not return to South Africa. “There is no extradition treaty between New Zealand and South Africa,” said Patterson.
“The truth is far less spectacular, much more simple,” wrote Joubert. “If you’re really interested in the truth, don’t look at old news stories, ask the right questions: a warrant of arrest for? Fleeing on what grounds?”
The Hawks allege Joubert and her accomplice, Adriaan van Vuuren, defrauded the company Trudon, a subsidiary of the state-owned Telkom, of R500 million ($50m) over a period of nine years.
Sonya and Francois Joubert, who was a pastor for 22 years, are believed to have moved to New Zealand in 2012. The South African authorities had no idea where she was; they said she had fled the country and was in hiding.
Van Vuuren, who was the IT manager for Trudon, allegedly created fraudulent invoices between 2007 and 2016 to pay a fictitious supplier for IT services required by Trudon on behalf of Telkom.
“Trudon transferred funds into Bites Bee Holding and The Corporate Choice’s account owned by Sonya Joubert. Telkom reported a loss of R500 million in total on all transactions made to these two companies,” said Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu.
Bites Bee Holdings and The Corporate Choice were registered solely in Joubert’s name in South Africa. She has since registered several new companies under her name in New Zealand, one of which is The Corporate Choice Limited.
“Joubert is wanted for a fraud case whereby she allegedly benefited from the monies which were deposited into both her companies,” said Mulamu.
Her office was working closely with Interpol to apprehend Joubert: “A warrant of arrest has been issued for her arrest and the extradition process is underway.”
Immigration New Zealand spokesperson Marc Piercy said the agency’s records showed Joubert was in New Zealand, “but for legal and privacy reasons we can provide no further detail.”
NZ Police refused to comment: “In general Police are not able to respond to requests which seek to establish whether specific individuals are, or have been, under Police investigation”.
Lawyer Chris Patterson said: “Sonya Joubert fervently denies any allegations of wrongdoing on her part. She has been implicated in this matter only because of her association with the company, Bite Bee Holdings CC, through being named as its director.
“At all relevant times she had absolutely no knowledge or reason to suspect that the individual who the South African authorities were investigating and has now deceased had committed any wrongdoing,” he said.
There was no link between The Corporate Choice mentioned by the Hawks and The Corporate Choice, which is registered in Joubert’s name in New Zealand. “Joubert chose the name when she established a company in New Zealand because she liked the name. Had she had any idea or knowledge about what was happening in South Africa she would never have used the same company name.”
Patterson said Joubert was willing to fully co-operate with the South African authorities, but added that she would not be “voluntarily travelling halfway around the world to South Africa” to clear her name in court.
The Hawks had not contacted him or Joubert, who is a New Zealand resident.
However, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that even though there’s no extradition treaty with South Africa, New Zealand’s extradition legislation does not require a bilateral treaty in order to send or receive extradition requests to and from other countries.
Joubert’s alleged accomplice, Adriaan van Vuuren, committed suicide last week in a hotel suite in South Africa, before he was due to hand himself over to the police.
Yesterday, The Stuff reported:
Interpol is allegedly on the verge of issuing an international arrest warrant for Sonya Joubert, 43, who is wanted in South Africa on $50 million fraud charges.
A source close to the investigation has confirmed that Joubert could potentiality be arrested within a week now that her whereabouts has been confirmed.
However, Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu has refused to confirm this saying: “Sonya’s matter is at the most sensitive stage right now.”
“We cannot comment further. Let’s rather give the investigation team a chance to do their work properly without any interferences that might jeopardise the investigation,” said Mulamu.
Patterson also didn’t want to comment any further on the matter.
“Sonya will not be giving any interviews with the New Zealand media until matters with the South African authorities have been resolved,” said Patterson.