Police to raid military pension scammers

2010-12-23 13:15

The police were today due to raid the Cape Town offices of alleged fraudsters who have been deceiving military veterans into paying “administration fees” to access pension benefits.

Ntime Skosana, a spokesperson for the military veterans department, told a media conference in Cape Town that the raids were taking place in the suburb of Parrow.

“This is a very big concern for us as we have also been alerted to the fact that these people are fraudulently and unashamedly using government letterheads [and] are authenticating their activities by using the speech delivered by the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Mr Thabang Makwetla to deceive veterans.”

“There are no fees payable in the DOD [department of defence] for acquiring forms and government services like pensions.

“These services are available at no cost to eligible persons including the issuing of required application forms.”

The department could not say how much money had been lost.

In the past two weeks, 100 to 150 individuals had telephoned the department to confirm whether the scam is true.

Skosana said the department was calling on unsuspecting military veterans to alert the nearest law enforcement authorities if they came across scams.

Council of Military Veterans Organisations of SA chairman Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Giles said in previous scams veterans were being led to believe that if they paid a certain amount of money, they would be reintegrated into the defence force.

He said: “This is untrue. We have individuals who are absolutely desperate, don’t have jobs, who are being given promises by people and, unfortunately, they are using official documentation as a way of saying ‘we are legitimate’.

Most of the people falling victim to this scam are not reading what is contained in these documents and do not see it is a scam.”

He said the scam artists were “fairly sophisticated” and had even managed to make or get hold of a department rubber stamp.

“Hundreds of people have been affected by this.”

Giles said the scam had been confined to the Western Cape but that the police raids could soon move to Gauteng.

He said former SA Defence Force members had been involved in previous scams, but he was not sure who was responsible for the current scam.

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