‘Muthi’ swindle case in court

2013-08-10 00:00

A CHANCE encounter by an alert detective led to the arrest of three people who were allegedly caught red-handed using a “muthi” ruse to con people out of their money.

This was revealed in court in Pietermaritzburg this week when two men and a woman appeared for scamming people in the city.

They would allegedly touch their victims with a black substance, claiming it was muthi, and tell them if they didn’t withdraw all their money in their bank account it would disappear.

Mduduzi Stiven Khuzwayo (54), Bongiwe Phumza Lingani (both from Inanda Newtown in Durban) and Nilisiwe Lingani from kwaMashu, are charged with theft by false pretence and kidnapping.

The state alleges that they kidnapped Zithophe Ngcobo in Church Street in 2011 and scammed her out of R50 000 after she was touched with the “muthi”.

In January this year they allegedly kidnapped Sizani Malinga and attempted to steal R30 000 from her in the CBD, when they were caught red-handed.

Investigating officer Warrant Officer Robin Mays’s affidavit in opposing bail said that he was walking along Loop Street on January 28 this year when he noticed a blue car he had been searching for for a year and a half.

“This car was wanted in a theft case in which the complainant was conned [out of] R50 000 at FNB liberty mall in 2011,” said Mays.

He stopped the vehicle and found a man and three women in it. After asking questions, he found that one woman was in the process of being taken to the bank by the others to withdraw her money.

He said that the accused placed a black substance on the victims and then convinced them that their money would disappear from their bank accounts.

They would transport them by car to the bank to withdraw all their money. They would then take the money to place “muthi” on it supposedly to protect it, but when the victims received their money back they would discover it had been removed and replaced with news­paper.

Mays said they have video footage of the accused pulling the con in 2011.

He said an identification parade will be held when more victims have been traced in the investigation. He added that the modus operandi in both cases is identical and several exhibits have been recovered.

The accused are due back in court on Wednesday next week.

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