Teacher ‘conned’ out of R700 000
A Port Elizabeth teacher with deep cultural beliefs was foxed out of nearly R700 000 by a “professor” who claimed he could connect with his ancestors and work miracles with money.
Alleged conman Bashil Lauw Kasenjela, 38, appeared briefly in the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of fraud, or alternatively theft, corruption and contravention of the Immigration Act.
The Malawian national abandoned his bid for bail after it was found he had been in South Africa illegally since June 2014, when his holiday visa expired.
Upon his arrest in April, he allegedly tried to bribe two police officers with R100 000 in a bid to be released.
In a draft charge sheet, the prosecution sets out how high school teacher Mlungisi Booi held deep-seated cultural beliefs in the powers of his ancestors.
Kasenjela then “preyed on Booi’s ancestral beliefs in a plot or scheme to defraud him”, documents before court state.
In June last year, Booi came across an advert in the PE Express community newspaper where a “Professor Anadkat” promised to work miracles with money.
After contacting the so-called professor, Booi was visited at his family home in Motherwell by Kasenjela.
Then, playing on his spiritual beliefs, Kasenjela allegedly persuaded and induced Booi to believe he had powers and the ability to establish contact with his ancestors.
He performed various rituals and even took Booi to a location where he was convinced the ancestors had spoken to him.
He then convinced Booi to resign from his employment as a high school teacher, with the sole purpose of accessing his pension fund in order to cleanse the money.
He was promised his ancestors would ensure he received R30-million in return.
In October last year, Booi resigned from his post. His pension – a lump sum of just over R1-million – was then paid out to him.
In a matter of weeks, Booi allegedly gave Kasenjela R669 000.
Kasenjela was finally arrested at Pier 14 on April 19, after Booi laid a complaint with the police.
It is alleged further that while the officers processed Kasenjela, he had offered them R100 000 to release him.
The so-called “ancestral scam”, which dupes victims into believing their money will be doubled by their ancestors, was declared an unfair business practice in terms of regulations promulgated in the Government Gazette.
The case against Kasenjela was provisionally postponed to July 13 for further investigation.