R130 million Cell C scam — two more arrested

Two more subjects allegedly involved in the Cell C missing millions scandal have turned themselves in.

Christopher Marrian and Robert Holloway appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Court on fraud and money laundering charges and were granted bail of R10,000 and R30,000, respectively.

The tally of those involved in the Cell C scandal — a R130 million tender scam — is now nine accused.

All nine accused are expected to appear in court on 16 February 2022.

Christopher Marrian, who worked for Cell C as an IT Security Manager between 2003 and 2013, and is now employed by MTN, received about R3 million from two transfers into his bank account from Techno Genius.

Robert Holloway’s company — Iceberg Technology Solution — had allegedly transferred approximately R14.5 million to Techno Genius between 2010 and 2017.

It is also alleged that Iceberg Technology Solution rendered IT and network services for Cell C during the same period.

“To name a few companies which allegedly benefitted from the fraudulent rate inflation for services rendered at Cell C, was Iceberg Technology Solution (PTY) Ltd, Redefine Technology, Cornastone & Blue Kit IT, Techno Genius, and their owners,” the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) said in a statement.

The Hawks also named the owners: Adriaan Pillay and his wife, Michelle Pillay; Mohamed Ismail Adamjee and his wife, Khatiya Patel; Manuel Reimaldo Teixeira, Lufuno Lesly Nevhutalu, Christopher Marrian, and Robert Holloway.

Cell C’s missing millions

Before Marrian and Holloway turned themselves in, the Hawks had arrested two other accused — Michelle Pillay and Khatiya Patel — also on fraud and money laundering charges.

The Hawks said they traced and arrested Pillay at her home in Sandton, while Patel handed herself over to police.

According to the police, the accused are all connected to the alleged corruption through Adriaan Pillay and Mohamed Adamjee.

Both men were arrested for alleged fraud and corruption during their tenure at Cell C.

Pillay is linked to a R130 million tender scam at Cell C through his company Techno Genius.

Pillay was arrested in February 2021, and his co-accused, Adamjee, was arrested shortly before.

It is alleged that between 2012 and 2019, Pillay and Adamjee colluded and inflated rates for IT and network services required by Cell C.

According to the South African Police Service, the scam resulted in losses of over R130 million to Cell C.

Adamjee was employed by Cell C from January 2002 until 7 May 2020, and Pillay served under him until July 2014, when he resigned due to pending disciplinary proceedings against him.

Cell C said it discovered collusion between Adamjee and Pillay in March 2020 relating to the procurement of IT equipment and services through their companies Cornastone and Techno Genius.

The mobile network provider explained that in every instance where it had paid Cornastone for equipment or services, the vendor would transfer a portion of this payment to Techno Genius and Pillay.

Cell C said that the portion paid to Techno Genius and Pillay was reflective of the amount by which the invoices had been inflated.

It added Adamjee’s tasks included considering quotes from IT vendors and that he used his position to ensure Cornastone’s services were chosen regularly.

“Through Adamjee’s influence, Cell C would contract with Cornastone as its’ preferred supplier’ for the required IT goods and services, not knowing that Cornastone’s quotes are exaggerated,” Cell C said.

Cell C believes Adamjee received part of the amounts paid to Techno Genius and Pillay.

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R130 million Cell C scam — two more arrested