S African-Indian women get 3-yr jail for fraud



Durban: An Indian-origin woman and her mother were sentenced to three years in prison by a South African court, which found them guilty of arranging a fake certificate of marriage to inherit property of their landlord, who died of poisoning.

According to the prosecution, Pauline Govender and Samantha Appalsamy (21) allegedly killed their landlord Munisamy Reddy (60) by putting poison in his fish curry in August 2008. Later, the duo connived with a pastor and arranged a fake certificate of marriage between Appalsamy and the deceased to inherit his property.

Thereafter, they organised a "fake marriage" between 'Reddy' and Appelsamy. Their relative Paul Aaron had posed as Reddy at the wedding ceremony.

Aaron is serving 20 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to fraud and murder.

However, the court, earlier this week, acquitted the duo and Govender's second husband Navindran of murder charges after the prosecution failed to prove their role in the homicide.

They also faced robbery charges for allegedly stealing the title deed of the house and taking away 13,000 rands and other belongings of Reddy after he was dead. The trio were also acquitted on charges of robbery.

Sentencing the women to three years of imprisonment, Judge Chiman Patel said they had shown no remorse for their actions

The Judge said he would have sent them to prison for five years had they not served two years in jail during the trial.

"This was no ordinary fraud," Patel said. "This mother and daughter connived at getting at getting a marriage registered with Reddy in order to inherit from him."

The judge added it was "fortuitous" that they were acquitted of murder and robbery.

PTI