Thabo Bester Saga: ActionSA Writes to FSCA to Get Clarity on Bester’s Bank Account(s)

ActionSA has written to Financial Sector Conduct Authority (“FSCA”) Commissioner, Unathi Kamlana, to request clarity on the conflicting stories relating to Thabo Bester and his bank account that seems to have been opened and operational despite only obtaining a valid Identity Document (ID) recently.

This comes after reports that convicted Facebook Rapist, Thabo Bester, had his bank account frozen after investigations into his escape.

However, the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, was yesterday reported announcing that Thabo Bester only received his valid South African ID on 17 May 2023. It is unclear whether this was Thabo’s first issuance of an ID document or whether he had one at some point in the past. Nevertheless, FSCA must provide clarity about the status of Thabo’s finances and whether or not there is a violation of lawful financial practices which would have allowed him to bankroll his original escape.

According to Section 29 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001(FICA), which requires institutions to report all suspicious financial activities, the announcement made by the Minister of Home Affairs brought into question how his bank verified the client in order to open a bank account that reportedly had a balance of R872 million whilst the requisite FICA documents were not furnished.

ActionSA would like to get clarity on this seemingly brazen violation of FICA specifically the ‘Know Your Client’ requirements by a major corporate in South Africa. Furthermore, we would like to know whether actions would be taken to get clarity on how this financial institution rubber-stamped the opening of a bank account by Mr. Bester in, what appears to be, a contravention of FICA regulations.

ActionSA takes a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and unethical behaviour, in both the public and private sector, it is for this reason that we will keep questioning any suspicious dealings.