3 November 2017

Lesotho: Fake Documents Syndicate Nabbed

POLICE have nabbed three men linked to an international syndicate suspected of producing fraudulent documents to facilitate criminal activities.

Police spokesperson Inspector Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the trio was arrested and charged under the Penal Code Act. The arrest followed a tip-off from some sources and a complaint from one of the banks in the country.

All three briefly appeared before the Maseru Magistrates' Court, and were remanded in custody to 7 November, 2017 when they are expected for their next appearance.

Two accused, Napo Moliko of Semphetenyane, Maseru and Thabang Shololo of Lekokoaneng Ha Sakoane, had their day in court yesterday, while the other co-accused is expected in court today.

According to Police Spokesperson, Inspector Mpiti Mopeli, police suspect the three are linked to an international syndicate involved in the production of important documents such as national identities of countries including South Africa.

"We found them in possession of South African identity documents, Lesotho passports, various banks' cheque books, voter cards, drivers' licenses, birth and death certificates, pay point systems, scheming devices, LRA cards, pay slips, traders' licenses, work permits and loan application forms and many other legal documents," Insp Mopeli said.

Police investigations also showed that, in some instances, loans were approved through use of the same documents, pointing to a wider network that enabled money to be externalised to some off-shore accounts before withdrawal.

Insp Mopeli said with the festive season in the air, it was imperative for people to monitor their transactions on a regular basis to notice early if there are some changes.

"We would like to advise people to take interest in checking and studying their bank accounts closely at all times to be able to report quickly any suspicions. It is also vital that each time people pay through pay-points, even at restaurants, they should make sure that such transactions are made in their presence to prevent opportunities for fraud. Bank cards can be cloned, and money easily transferred from their bank accounts," he said.

Insp Mopeli also added the importance of being alert before making a withdrawal at an Automated Machine (ATM), particularly at night.

"People should check that there are no suspicious individuals loitering around the ATMs or behaving in a manner that sends some danger signals. They should not make cash withdrawals if they are not sure of their safety," Insp Mopeli said.

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