Elderly man asked to pay R120,000 to Hawks impostor to make 'case' go away
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) says it is concerned about “increasing incidents of impostors” claiming to be Hawks investigators targeting vulnerable people, demanding money to derail investigations.
This follows the arrest of a 29-year-old suspect, who approached an elderly victim in Mpumalanga at his house on Wednesday, said Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale.
The “officer” stands accused of producing a fraudulent document bearing a Hawks emblem stating that it was a murder charge withdrawal proof from a Hawks investigation against the frail man.
He allegedly demanded R60,000 in order for this to be made a formality.
“At this stage the victim recognised the suspect as one of the three that came to his house on the morning of June 29 2020 and introduced themselves as investigators in a murder case he was ‘implicated’ in. The trio were allegedly driving a police vehicle and stated that they were there to arrest him. The ailing victim was threatened and told his family was going to be destroyed unless he paid R60,000 in cash to ensure that the case was destroyed.
“The victim reluctantly gave in to the demand and handed them the money. The impostors left the house and one of them later returned in the evening and demanded another R60,000, which was also paid.”
The Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team was alerted and arrested the 29-year-old suspect at the victim’s house after he was made to wait for the money to be organised.
Charges of fraud, extortion and impersonating a police officer are being preferred against the arrested suspect who is expected to appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court on Friday.
The DPCI national head, Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya, warned the public to be wary of impostors.
“I would like to remind the public that the real Hawks will never demand payment for their services nor to make the case go away. We provide services free of charge. We perform our duties without fear, favour or prejudice. Those who solicit payment by promising favours are not our members. Anyone who commits corruption or extortion in our name must expect serious consequences,” Lebeya said.