Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the case and charges against Mamela Mnyaka were withdrawn in June 2017.
Johannesburg – Six foreigners and three South Africans appeared in court on Thursday for allegedly defrauding companies who supply government departments, the Hawks said.
They allegedly gained access to a government-approved supplier database and then sent these companies urgent orders, along with details of the business from which the items should be bought, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.
They created an online store and asked for payment in full before delivery. So far, a total of 104 transactions were believed to have been made.
The group of five Ugandans, one Malawian, and three South Africans were arrested at a house on 1st Street, Parkmore, on Tuesday.
They appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday on charges of fraud and theft. They would remain in custody until their next appearance on September 10.
Police confiscated laptop computers and government documents. A shrine was also found in the house.
"The syndicate also duped individuals by claiming to have superpowers to multiply their profits," Mulaudzi said.
The syndicate was tracked for months before the arrests were made.
The six foreign accused are John Agaba, 29; Simon Kintu, 22; Rogers Kiyimba, 25; Japhari Seupara, 26; Hussal Lukwago, 36; Elizabeth Katukumala, 31; and the three South Africans - Masebolelo Lebuso, 26; Mamela Mnyaka, 24; and Sewela Letlalom, 23.
The charges against Mnyaka were eventually withdrawn in June 2017.