Ugandan traditional healers jailed for scamming teacher of R1.6m

03 March 2020 - 18:59 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Three traditional healers convinced a 63-year-old teacher from Lusikisiki to quit her job and hand over her pension money in 2017.
Three traditional healers convinced a 63-year-old teacher from Lusikisiki to quit her job and hand over her pension money in 2017.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele

Justice has finally prevailed for a 63-year-old teacher from Lusikisiki, in the Eastern Cape, who was convinced to resign from her job and hand over R1.6m of her pension money to three Ugandan traditional healers.

The female teacher was told that the money would be used for a spiritual cleansing, which would allegedly lead to her ancestors multiplying her money, according to a Hawks provincial spokesperson Capt Anelisa Ngcakani.

The incident occurred in 2017, when the convicted fraudsters executed “a systematic process” that took about eight months until they accessed the lump sum.  

The fraudsters were identified as Jimmy Peter Sellwuju, 27, Brian Kibirigue, 32, and Mohamed Wamubirigue, 57.

They were sentenced on Monday to a total of 13 years' imprisonment for fraud and theft by the East London Regional Court.  

 Fortunately, the teacher's R1.6m was recovered. Ngcakani said the money was found on  Kibirigue while he was booking accommodation at a guesthouse.

She said the trio were apprehended before they could share the money among themselves when an informer alerted officials to a possible crime.

“Knowing that the pensioner still had more cash in her account, she was instructed [by the fraudsters] to withdraw the remaining R90,000. 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," said Ngcakani.

The trio have been in police custody since 2017, when they were denied bail.

Sellwuju and Wamubirigue were each sentenced to six years' imprisonment, while Kibirigue was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.


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