Businessman loses out on fake tender
A GAUTENG businessman is battling to recover R152,000 after he was taken in by a fake government tender.
Nceba Luzipho was phoned by an "official" calling himself Jeffrey Mashele, of Spruitview in Ekurhuleni, who invited him to quote on iPads and iPhones with a collective value of more than R400,000.
These were for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, and he had ostensibly bid successfully.
Luzipho became suspicious when the supposed officials told him to deliver the goods to a warehouse and not to the department's offices in Pretoria.
"We have done business with government before, and have not been asked to deliver goods anywhere else," Luzipho said.
He was taken to nearby flats to make the delivery, but he refused to enter the premises as there was no logo indicating that it was a government building.
"After being lured away from the 'department's' reception I became suspicious as I had not delivered wares anywhere in my previous dealings with the same department," he said.
He then called "Mashele" to complain about being escorted to the flats, instead of a government building.
"Mashele" tried to convince him that he was at the right place. But Luzipho decided to go to the department where he was told that it was a scam.
On reporting to a nearby police station, he realised he was not the only one to have been lured by the fraudsters.
"This looks like a well-organised crime and it is happening right under the department's nose," Luzipho said.
Luzipho - armed with an affidavit - approached suppliers for refunds.
While all the other dealers have refunded him, one dealer at the Eastgate Mall, iStore, has refused to take back 19 iPads and refund Luzipho R152,000.
The repayment is in line with the Consumer Protection Act, which allows consumers to return goods in their original packaging within seven days for refunds. Also, the store's policy allows such refunds.
- Another businessperson - who was luckier than Luzipho - is Phikisile Monyepao, of Soweto.
"The bank realised when they were processing my application for a loan to buy goods for the Department of Health that the form had not been stamped."
This after she was "awarded a tender" following a request to submit a quotation via e-mail.
She had been initially telephoned by a "John Khosa", and was asked to give a quotation for 29 Samsung television sets.
"The financier realised that the 'department' had not attached an official stamp on the forms," Monyepao said. "I later visited the department's official and noticed that their contact details were totally different from the ones appearing on the letterheads of the scammers."
Monyepao said the last time she' had heard from "Khosa" was after "I had asked him to send stamped documents to facilitate the loan".
- It seems as if the scammers are using the same telephone and fax numbers.
Also, the scammers seem to be operating from the same offices and get their victims' information from databases of departments.
They then invite unsuspecting "tenderpreneurs" to submit quotations for various goods.
A week ago a woman from Soweto was called to quote on 18 Galaxy tablets and 15,990 Blackberry cellphones.
This one was on a Public Works Department letterhead.
When Sowetan called "Mashele", he said he did not know who Luzipho was.
"He is not on my list and I have not spoken to him," the fraudster said. When he was pressed for more information he hung up.
Water Affairs' Linda Page said they were aware of the incident (Luzipho's fraud claim) and that they were investigating.
She said they were trying to establish whether any staff were involved in the scam. - firstname.lastname@example.org
- This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 13 July 2012