Broke and heartbroken: Polokwane woman loses R650k to dating scammer

CRIME

By Agreement Mabunda

POLOKWANE – A suspected dating scammer (27) and his 32 years old accomplice are expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court today, 14 December 2023 following their arrest by the police on 12 December 2023.

During September this year, the victim randomly met the suspect  in Polokwane who was driving a white Mercedes Benz and they started dating. While enjoying the new love, the victim told the suspect about her personal problems and the suspect promised to hook her up with the spiritual healer(prophetess) who was going to cast away all her problems.

The victim alleged that she was introduced to the prophetess who told her she was going to assist in getting rid of the problems. According to the victim, they engaged in prayers with the suspect and the prophetess for about a week.

In one of the prayer sessions, the prophetess came driving a BMW X6 carrying R4 million hard-cash in a bag. The victim was told the money was hers from her ancestors but she had to pay 10% of the total amount in order to get it.

As the victim did not have money, she rushed to the bank and applied for a loan of R650 000 and gave it to the prophetess. After a while, the victim tried to contact the suspect and the prophetess but they were not reachable. While the victim was still confused, she allegedly received a call from a property rental agent in Polokwane enquiring about the luxury house she rented at a place called Woodhill Estate in Polokwane.

As she never rented such a place, she discovered that her particulars were fraudulently used and she reported the matter to the Hawks.

On 27 November 2023, members of the Hawks visited the address at Woodhill Estate and found two vehicles (Mercedes Benz and BMW X6) parked in  the garage that was wide opened. Unfortunately nobody was found inside the house but the vehicles were seized as they were previously used by the suspect and the accomplice when they met with the victim.

On 12 December 2023, information was received that a Mercedes Benz vehicle that was used by the suspect was spotted in Potchefstroom, North West Province.

Through a proper coordination, the vehicle was followed and the suspect together with his accomplice were arrested.

The Provincial Head of the Hawks in Limpopo Province Major General Gopz Govender has expressed his gratitude to the investigation team for cracking such a complex case. ” We are investigating a number of dating scam cases in the Province where the victims lost their fortunes in the name of love. I am happy that today we managed to make a breakthrough by arresting the alleged scammers. I believe more arrests will be made in other cases that are still under investigation”, said  Major General Govender.

The accused boyfriend Lubega Siraje Yiga(27) and fake prophetess Mirembe Betsey Rhoda (32) were remanded in custody until 18 December 2023 for formal bail application.

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