Three Ugandan faith healers have been jailed in South Africa for scamming a 63-year-old teacher out of over 80,000 GBP of her savings.
According to local media, the unnamed teacher, who comes from the town of Lusikisiki in the southern South African province of Eastern Cape, was convinced to resign from her post and hand over 1.6 million ZAR (81,635 GBP) to the three traditional healers.
They told her that the money would be used for spiritual cleansing and that her dead ancestors would then help to multiply her ‘investment’, according to police spokesperson Captain Anelisa Ngcakani.
The incident started in 2017 when the scammers carefully planned an eight-month strategy to access the teacher’s lump sum.
The convicted fraudsters have been identified as Jimmy Peter Sellwuju, 27, Brian Kibirigue, 32, and Mohamed Wamubirigue, 57.
The regional court in East London, which is a city on the Indian Ocean in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, sentenced the trio to a total of 13 years in prison for fraud and theft, according to local media.
Fortunately for the elderly teacher, all her money was recovered after it was found on Kibirigue as he checked in at a guesthouse.
Local media said the suspects were arrested before they could share out the total sum among themselves.
Captain Anelisa Ngcakani said: “Knowing that the pensioner still had more cash in her account, she was instructed [by the scammers] to withdraw the remaining 90,000 ZAR (4,600 GBP).
“At the time, members of the commercial crime investigation [unit] were alerted by an informer about the crime which was about to take place, and managed to stop the transaction and arrested Sellwuju and Wamubirigue as they were waiting outside the bank.”
The Ugandan suspects have been kept in police custody since their 2017 arrest after being denied bail.
Sellwuju and Wamubirigue were both sentenced to six years in prison while Kibirigue will serve 12 months behind bars, according to reports.
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