Worker refuses to return R500 000 paid to him due to typo. Can he keep it?

(Click here to learn about the typo that destroyed a 124-year-old family business.)

A worker from the Free State is refusing to give back more than R500 000 that was paid into his account by accident.

The comma that cost half a million

According to Motsi Civils and Plant Hire Managing Director Michael Mochudi, he meant to pay R5687.61 into Phemelo Mothupi's bank account, but left the comma off by mistake.

Mochudi called Mothupi as soon as he realised what he had done, but Mothupi refused to pay back the money.

Before Mochudi’s bank, FNB, could reverse payment Mothupi transferred R400 000 to his wife’s account of which she placed R260 000 in an investment account.

Mochudi then got an urgent court application to have these two accounts frozen.

The court will decide on 5 March whether or not the Mothupi’s should have to pay back the money.

Will he have to pay back the money?

“This is not a case of finders keepers,” says Nortan Rose Fulbright litigation and dispute resolution lawyer Aslam Moosajee. “If he knew the money has been paid to him in error he exposes himself to a charge of theft.”

Moosajee says that, even if he didn’t realise an error was made, he can still be sued in a civil claim based on “unjustified enrichment”.

“Banks won’t reverse the payment without a court order, but might put a hold on the money to give the aggrieved party a chance to approach the court,” says Moosajee.

Moosajee says that the facts seem to show that Mothupi must’ve known Mochudi made the transfer in error. “He better be sure he didn’t use any of the money. He’s in danger of being found guilty of theft.”

Listen to the audio for more detail.

(Click here to learn about the typo that destroyed a 124-year-old family business.)

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Malusi Gigaba’s advisor set up meeting with Guptas – ex Eskom CEO Brian Dames

Malusi Gigaba’s advisor set up meeting with Guptas – ex Eskom CEO Brian Dames

Bruce Whitfield interviewed EWN reporter Rahima Essop and Prof Somadoda Fikeni, Adviser to Unisa's Vice-Chancellor.

Meet Whitey Basson (the retail guru who turned Shoprite into a R127bn behemoth)

Meet Whitey Basson (the retail guru who turned Shoprite into a R127bn behemoth)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews the former CEO of Africa’s largest retailer by far.

What to expect from Malusi Gigaba’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement

What to expect from Malusi Gigaba’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Investec Asset Management Economist Nazmeera Moola.

30 million SA ID numbers/sensitive info exposed in largest data breach ever

30 million SA ID numbers/sensitive info exposed in largest data breach ever

In other words; you’re probably a victim. The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Stuff magazine’s Toby Shapshak.

Tax Ombud fights Sars on your behalf (send a complaint, it's free)

Tax Ombud fights Sars on your behalf (send a complaint, it's free)

Bruce Whitfield interviews Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Ngoepe.

“Curro’s teachers are good at math, especially division.”

“Curro’s teachers are good at math, especially division.”

Curro’s classroom apartheid, a typo causing bankruptcy, a Gauteng running club scam and a Brazilian parastatal worse than Eskom.

Popular articles
LISTEN: Gerrie Nel on why he's persuing prosecution against Duduzane Zuma

LISTEN: Gerrie Nel on why he's persuing prosecution against Duduzane Zuma

AfriForum will prosecute Duduzane Zuma after NPA declined to do so in 2015 following a 2014 accident where a woman died.

How we invented the modern concept of sleep

How we invented the modern concept of sleep

Dr Bodhisattva Kar reveals how industrial capitalism influenced the world's current sleep patterns.

Hassen Adams (he brought Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts to SA) talks money

Hassen Adams (he brought Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts to SA) talks money

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Adams about his attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

A Cape Town man was stabbed to death on Saturday while trying to assist two women who were being mugged on Kloof street.

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

After 3 years there are 3 Nic Harry stores (incl online) that sell 100 000 pairs of socks in over 20 countries around the world.