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12 Sep 2016
8:05 am

People conned by their ‘ancestors’ in Eastern Cape


A scam involving promises of ancestors multiplying investors' money has led to several arrests.

Traditional healer accessories

Yet another conman has been arrested in connection with a scam whereby people are conned out of their pension payout money with promises that their “ancestors” will multiply the money, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in the Eastern Cape said on Sunday.

Joshua Setimba Kyebakolo, 34, a Ugandan national, appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for allegedly defrauding a former Queenstown teacher of just over R1.1 million of her pension money, Captain Anelisa Feni said.

The Hawks’ commercial crime unit arrested Kyebakolo on Tuesday in Butterworth after a source alerted members of the unit about his whereabouts, she said.

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During 2014 Kyebakolo, who was allegedly known as Prince to his victim, apparently convinced a then 48-year-old teacher from Queenstown to resign from her teaching post with the promise of cleansing her money in order for it to multiply. After the woman handed over the money to him he allegedly disappeared with it.

Kyebakolo would appear in the same court on Wednesday for a formal bail application.

Feni said the Hawks commercial crime unit had, since April, embarked on a public campaign to warn the greater public about a scam which had seen civil servants conned by people purporting to be traditional healers or sangomas. The alleged traditional healer convinced the victim to resign from work in order for the “ancestors” of the victim to multiply their money.

Another Ugandan national, Nalwanga Haawa, 36, was arrested on May 13 after a relative of a man whom she allegedly defrauded of about R600,000 in 2014 saw her at an East London shopping centre, she said.

The relative immediately reported the matter to South African Police Service (SAPS) officers who were also present at the shopping complex. The two members from the East London police station then arrested Haawa. One of the members recognised the modus operandi of this case as a result of the Hawk’s public campaigns. She contacted the Hawks commercial crime unit and the case was transferred to this unit.

During the year 2014, Haawa purportedly successfully convinced a now 60-year-old man from Sterkstroom to resign from work and to hand over his pension money to her in order for her to cleanse and multiply it. Haawa was allegedly the victim’s traditional healer and consequently the former administration clerk resigned from the government department he was working for.

Haawa’s next court appearance in the Queenstown Magistrates’ Court was September 30. She remained in custody, Feni said.

Another Ugandan national, Nitzar Mukasa, 36, was sentenced in the East London Regional Court on May 11 to six years’ imprisonment for fraud, theft, possession of counterfeit banknotes, forgery, and uttering.

Mukasa was arrested in June, 2015 for crimes he committed in 2014. He was the traditional healer of a now 50-year-old former teacher and successfully convinced her to retire from her job, with the promise that her “ancestors” would multiply her money. The former teacher gave Mukasa a total of R550,000 of her pension money. The investigation into this scam was continuing and more arrests were expected, Feni said.

– African News Agency (ANA)