The Northern Cape South African Police Service (SAPS) organised crime and anti-corruption unit have arrested six suspects and charged them with fraud and extortion, Northern Cape police said on Saturday.
The arrest of the suspects followed a lengthy investigation, Captain Olebogeng Tawana said.
“It is alleged that the suspect targeted unsuspecting victims and extorted money from them. They impersonated police officers, law enforcement officers, and high ranking government officials.”
Four suspects, among them an alleged pastor from a local church in Modderriver, were arrested in Friday. The alleged pastor also impersonated a traffic officer or an official from the traffic department, and allegedly solicited bribes from unsuspecting members of the community.
“One of the suspects pretended to be a tender official from Transnet and in the processes would take monies from unsuspecting people and promised to award them tenders,” Tawana said.
Three of the four would remain in custody until the September 29 for a formal bail application, while one woman suspect was released on bail.
Two suspects, one a civilian who allegedly posed as a traffic officer, including as a traffic officer in the Phokwani municipality, were arrested at Jankempdorp.
“It is believed that both suspects accosted motorist with traffic fines and took money as if they are going to pay traffic fines which were issued against them. Only to find that the suspects were taking this monies for themselves without paying traffic fines at the traffic offices.”
The alleged traffic officer was released on bail after appearing briefly in the Jankempdorp Magistrate’s Court.
“More arrests are imminent, as we are in the trail of other suspects.” Any person who believed he or she had fallen victim to “this modus operandi” was asked to contact the investigating officers – Captain Essie Esterhuysen 082-469-1813 and Warrant Officer Bongani Msuthwana 076-911-7033.
“We suspect that the suspects could be syndicates; they were operating from town to town defrauding people [of] millions of rand,” Tawana said.