Two men pretending to be members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) were arrested at the Maseru Bridge Border Post on Friday.
The conmen, Lebaka Fusi (26) of Ha Nqheku village in Nazareth and Mohlouoa Makara (35) of Malumeng in Thabana Morena were apprehended as they tried to swindle an elderly South African couple.
The duo pretended to be police officers to the Ledwaba family of Pretoria, who were looking for Fusi’s sister in connection with their missing collection of antique kitchenware.
According to the police, the Ledwabas had employed the sister as a maid between September and December last year, during which the property was stolen.
Mrs Tunukwane Queen Ledwaba (74) told the police she lives in a double-storey house with her husband and, due to old age, they only utilise the ground floor and use the upper floor to keep her special collection of kitchen utensils.
The woman further said she visited Europe towards the end of September last year and returned home in mid-November, and suspected Fusi’s sister stole the items during her absence.
“When I realised that my antique property was missing in December, I reported the case in Pretoria and told the police that I suspected my former maid was the culprit,” reads a statement she gave to the police.
However, according to the LMPS Spokesperson Senior Inspector Lebona Mohloboli, Fusi and Makara, contacted the Ledwabas last week, informing them they were Lesotho police officers, and that they had recovered the missing items. The two men also asked the South African family to deposit
M1 000 into a given bank account for the transportation of the property to the Maseru Bridge Border Post.
“Fusi called Mrs Ledwaba and told her that he was a police officer from Lesotho and that he had the antiques with him, so he needed M1 000 from her for transporting the property.
“Mrs Ledwaba deposited the money into Fusi’s bank account and she was told to come to Lesotho on Friday to receive her property,” Senior Inspector Mohloboli said.
But when the Ledwabas arrived at the Maseru Border Post, they decided to call the police officer in charge of their case in Pretoria and told him they were about to meet Fusi and Makara, Senior Inspector Mohloboli said.
“The officer was suspicious and called our headquarters here for clarification. That was when we all realised this was a scam and immediately, LMPS officials went to the Maseru Bridge Border Post.
“On arrival, they met the Ledwabas and were fortunate to find them with Fusi and Makara, whom they arrested on the spot.”
The two men, he added, were taken to court the same day.
“They were charged with contravening the Police Act Section 58 (c), which specifies that it is illegal to pretend to be a police officer.
“Both men were found guilty as charged and sentenced to one year in prison, with an option to pay a fine of M1 000. They both failed to pay the fine and were sent to prison,” Senior Inspector Mohloboli said.