Criminals have tried to steal money from the Guardian Fund — a pool of money established to administer the financial affairs of people who are unable to do so themselves.
“The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development confirms what appears to be an incident wherein unauthorized transactions may have been attempted on the Guardian’s Fund at the Master’s Office in Pietermartizburg,” Ministerial spokesperson Chrispin Phiri told MyBroadband.
“At this stage, it is not clear whether this unauthorized attempt was the work of a cyberattack,” Phiri stated.
Phiri said that the incident happened on Friday, 25 September 2020.
The unauthorised transactions were detected via the Justice Department’s monitoring and auditing systems, and the transactions were reported as suspicious.
Phiri said he is not privy to information about how much money the criminals tried to steal from the fund.
The Guardian’s Fund receives and manages money on behalf of persons who are legally incapable or do not have the capacity to manage their own affairs. This includes minors, unborn heirs, and missing or absent persons.
The money in the Guardian’s Fund is invested with the Public Investment Commission and audited annually. The High Court appoints a guardian, who can then claim maintenance for the person whose money is held in the fund.
The Guardian’s Fund is administrated by six Master’s Offices: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Pietermaritzburg, and Grahamstown.
Phiri said that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has opened a case with the South African Police Services.
“The South African Police Services will investigate all elements of possible criminality. In addition, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Developments forensic team and banking partners are conducting an internal investigation.”