Man’s money ‘cleansed’ away

2009-08-15 00:00

TWO Ugandan nationals charged with conning a man out of R66 000 with a promise that he would “make millions” were granted bail by Judge Pete Koen yesterday after he ruled they are not a flight risk.

Edward Bogere (34) and Umaru Semakula (36) are facing fraud charges in Camperdown. Bogere was released on R3 000 bail and Semakula on R2 000, and both men were ordered to surrender their travel documents and report daily to police.

Both men have lived in South Africa for a long time, are married to South African women, and each of them has a child.

According to evidence led at the original bail application in Camperdown, the victim of the alleged scam, Alfred Kehla Madondo, told police in May that he had met two men who called themselves “izinyanga” (witchdoctors). They persuaded him that his ancestors had told them he was “going to get millions of rands”. They told him to withdraw money from his bank and bring it to them so that they could perform a ritual to “cleanse” it at the Msunduzi river.

He initially withdrew R40 000, but when he got to the river the men allegedly told him to go back and withdraw “every cent” in his bank account. He then withdrew a further R26 000 and took it to them.

Madondo alleged the men “wrapped” the money and put it in the river. He was told that the “izinyanga” were going to go to the mountains to slaughter a goat and speak to his ancestors. He was told to wait 14 days.

He said when later he went in search of the witchdoctors at their home behind the Camperdown Spar they were no longer there, but he eventually succeeded in obtaining a cellphone number on which to contact them.

After he reported the incident to police, a trap was set for the fraudsters.

Madondo allegedly arranged to hand over an additional R6 000 and was instructed to bury the money at a designated spot at the edge of the road near the river. He did so and then made a phone call indicating that he was “far away” as instructed.

The police investigating officer testified that “before the expiry of even a minute” Bogere emerged from the bush and began “checking” the money. He was arrested at the scene and Semakula was arrested later.

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