Cop arrested for M18 million fraud

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

POLICE Constable (PC) Mokone Bereng of Khubetsoana in Berea and two other suspects yesterday appeared before the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on charges of defrauding the government of at least M17 million.

PC Bereng (35) and his co-accused Abiele Moletsane (30) and ’Mamothibeli Piti (34), a sales consultant at Standard Lesotho Bank, appeared in court after their arrest on Monday.

The trio allegedly defrauded the government of M17 million and some motor dealers of amounts in the region of over a million maloti through fraudulent purchases.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said PC Bereng and his accomplices could face more charges as the investigations are ongoing.

“This trio defrauded the sub-accountancy department (of the Ministry of Finance) in Leribe of an estimated M17 million by hacking into its system,” Supt Mopeli said, adding, “They then went on to purchase some vehicles at various car dealers where they paid through electronic transfers”.

“They always paid money exceeding the actual price of their purchase and then later claimed they had erred and demanded to rectify their mistake and demanded the excess in cash in the process,” Sup Mopeli said.

The transactions are said to have occurred in October this year and the suspects allegedly deposited the ill-gotten funds into three different accounts which they had opened under false identities in South Africa.

Supt Mopeli further said they had recovered a Prado vehicle from the cop which costs M130 000.

“Investigations to track the other eight cars are ongoing and these include a BMW 120i worth M122 000, a Honda Elision (M54 000), an Audi A3 (M77 000), two Mercedes Vianos (one valued at M165 000 and the other at M195 000) and three Mercedes Benz C200 vehicles (two of them valued at M160 000 and the other M165 000).”

The car dealers who were allegedly defrauded by the suspects are United Motors, Sam Motors, Koloi Land, Faiz Motors, Motornet and JH Motors.

“The police have also recovered and confiscated some moveable property comprising sofas costing M41 000, a double door refrigerator worth M21 000 and a washing machine priced at M7 000 from the female sales consultant who was cohabiting with one of the suspects.”

Supt Mopeli said primary investigations have yielded that M10 million of the fraudulently acquired money has already been exhausted while the remaining M7 million has been frozen in the bank accounts.

Supt Mopeli also appealed to Chief Accounting Officers at the various government ministries to conduct regular book keeping, saying this would help to spot any suspicious transactions.

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