R500 million is a staggering sum by South African standards, so when news hit town that a last stole that much from her former employer, many South Africans were understandably interested in how that was possible. This is the story of Hildegard Antoinette Steenkamp, a former accountant at Medtronic Africa.
According to reports, as part of her job description as an accountant, she was empowered to add or remove names from the company’s creditors. She’s said to have abused her powers by adding her late husband’s name and then paying the sum of R4.63 million into his estate account.
The other company’s funds were allegedly transferred into her son’s account. The fraud was said to have taken place between 2004 and 2016. It took a while for the company to detect the heist. She resigned from her position at the company.
Following an internal investigation, a case was opened and eventually transferred to the Hawks, who are investigating. The accountant was found guilty of 336 counts of fraud and theft. In all, she was said to have stolen about R537 million from Medtronic Africa. She will be sentenced this week.
Her son was also arrested, but the case against him has since been withdrawn,