Conman aims at top officials
Threatens to arrest them, unless they pay him money
A MAN has allegedly been trying to extort money from politicians and businessmen under the guise of former National Prosecuting Authority spokesman.
The man allegedly tells his victims that his name is Mthunzi Mhaga, the spokesman for the Department of Justice.
He tells them that he is in possession of a warrant of arrest and unless they pay him money, they will be arrested.
Mhaga confirmed that the man has been using his name in an attempt to make money from unsuspecting people.
"I understand that he threatened KwaZulu-Natal agriculture, environmental affairs and rural development MEC Meshack Radebe. He apparently wanted R35,000 from Radebe," Mhaga said.
"I would like to inform people that I am not behind this and do not know this person.
"He also allegedly tried to extort money from former deputy minister of economic development Enoch Godongwana."
It is not clear what exactly he was threatening his potential victims with, and neither Mhaga nor the Hawks would reveal more.
Jeffrey Zikhali of Radebe's office would only say: "I heard about this matter, but do not have first-hand knowledge, so I really cannot comment."
Godongwana confirmed that the man tried his luck with him, saying: "Indeed he tried, but I don't think I'm at liberty to discuss the matter. Perhaps the Hawks will give you more information."
In an error-riddled text message that Sowetan has seen, the man wrote, allegedly to Godongwana: "Yes, my writing a book is personal hence im the 1 telling u da news of yo arrest.
"I'm the charging coordinator wth the hawks, thats why im willing to show u da evidence first hand."
Mhaga said his reputation has been compromised. "I am worried because this person is using my name wrongly, that is why I reported him to the Hawks. What he is doing is exploitation and impersonation and as a result, he has dented my name and image of the organisation that I work for," Mhaga said.
Hawks' spokesman McIntosh Polela said they were investigating the case.
He would not say how much, if any, the impostor has managed to get from his victims so far.