Fake doc­u­ments syn­di­cate charged

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

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

Po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli ( pic­tured) 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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