A Limpopo woman, Gladys Tsakane Mpipi (47) was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on two counts of fraud amounting to R236 440.
The court heard that in 2017, Mpipi met her accomplice known to her as ‘boss’ when she used to be a cook in Nirvana. The accused told the court that the Nigerian man befriended her and promised that he will source funds and start a business with her.
Later, the unknown boss asked her to open a Standard bank account on behalf of the company as he do not qualify to open an account because he is Nigerian. Mpipi indeed opened an account and gave the card and the pin to her boss.
The perpetrator used the accused’s bank account to launder the money which was shared amongst him and Mpipi.
The accused was arrested at her home in Seshego after the relentless efforts of the National Task Team comprising of members of the serious commercial Crime Investigation unit in Pretoria.
Due to the number of victims that had lost money through an operation called “faka mali” was launched, leading to the arrest of the accused.
During the trial, Advocate Victor Mafolo called the complainant to testify how she was scammed. The complainant told the court that she was made to believe that she had won a government tender from the department of Minerals and Energy.
She was further persuaded to transfer funds from her business and personal accounts, ostensibly to purchase acetylene cylinders from the company in Cape Town. The company in Cape town never existed. The complainant told the court that she has lost her business and money because of Mpipi and her unknown boss.
The complainant later discovered that she did not have any purchase order with the Department of Energy. In fact, the department had absolutely no tender with her in this regard. The scammer created the logo of the department and used it to convince business people that they have won a tender.
During the trial the state submitted the bank statements of the accused to the court, which reflected large cash withdrawals that were made and endless card purchases made around Polokwane.
The prosecutions argued for a custodial sentence which the court endorsed by sending the accused to jail for five years.