free state

A slap on the wrist for Free State fraudster

Published by Andile Sicetsha

Free State fraudster, Thabiso Collens Lengoabala, will either have to fork out an R40 000 fine or spend at least a year in jail for purporting himself to be a traffic officer.

Free State fraudster sentenced for posing as traffic officer

This is the ruling that was handed down to the 55-year-old by the Bethlehem Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Lengoabala became the subject of a Hawks investigation after it was reported in March 2020 that the 55-year-old was posing as a traffic officer with untethered access to Bethlehem’s driver’s licence department.

It is still unclear for how long Lengoabala used this scam to personally benefit from aspiring motorists’ desperate need for valid drivers’ licences. Nonetheless, the fraudster popped up on the radar when he informed a victim that “he [could] arrange a driver’s license for him at a R4 000 fee.”

Fortunately, instead of folding to the allure, the victim reported the matter to authorities. Immediately, the Hawks were brought in to escalate the investigation.

Was this a slap on the wrist?

The investigating team gathered information on the fraudster’s operation. Much of his M.O was not detailed in the police statement, possibly a measure to reduce the possibility of copy cats in the future.

Alas, the police investigation was helped by a tip-off and a call was made to place the 55-year-old under arrest. Lengoabala appeared before the Bethlehem Magistrate’s Court on a number of occasions and his trial came and went in a span of 11 months.

On Tuesday, the fraudster learned of his fate and some might argue that it was a slap on the wrist. At this time, it is unclear what the terms of the fine repayment are, or if the 55-year-old defaulted and chose to spend time in jail. We don’t imagine that he went for the latter.

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