Suspects in scam reappear in court

2019-05-22 06:00

The case of the 33 suspects from Botshabelo implicated in the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) fraud scam is to continue in the Botshabelo Magistrate’s Court.

The series of preliminary hearings into the reported fraud scam is set to start today (22/05) and will continue until Monday (27/05).

The suspects first appeared in court last Wednesday (15/05) for bail application which saw 32 granted bail of R500 each.

The state has turned down bail of alleged mastermind Malefu Mokhethi (41), one of the 28 women reportedly involved in the scam. She is expected back in the dock today.

In the group are five men who were arrested on 14 May.

According to the police, 35 un­deserving Sassa grant beneficiaries were arrested but two women were released as they were not charged.

The suspects are charge with fraud, allegedly after defrauding Sassa of an undisclosed amount of money.

The Provincial Organised Crime Unit, comprised of Crime Intelligence, Public Order Policing and the Criminal Record Centre, clamped down on the alleged syndicate after Sassa opened cases with the police for investigation.

According to Mohodi Tsosane, acting regional executive manager of Sassa, the scam came to the agency’s attention mid-2018.

He said the scam came to Sassa’s attention after one of the beneficiaries confessed to having been paid an undisclosed amount of money to enable her to fraudulently qualify for social grants.

“Ongoing Integrated Approach Awareness Programmes are being undertaken to educate communities and other stakeholders on how to deal with unscrupulous fraudsters preying on social grants recipients,” said Mohodi.

Col. Thandi Mbambo, provincial police spokesperson, said according to initial investigation, the alleged mastermind behind the scam targeted vulnerable people with a promise of assisting them to obtain social grants. She allegedly issued them with fraudulent doctor’s referral letters qualifying them to apply for grants for a fee ranging from R200.

The police urge those who know that they were part of the scam or are fraudulent beneficiaries of go­vernment grants to come forward.

“It is just a matter of time before we arrest them,” said Lt Gen Moeketsi Sempe.

Beneficiaries are advised to call Sassa on 0800-601-011 whenever they are offered any service relating to grants for money, no matter how little the charge could be.

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