Conman tried to swindle me out of R100 000

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A 49-year-old woman from Lichtenburg, North West, has described to Sowetan how convicted serial fraudster Samson Khaukhani Budeli and eight other people hijacked and kidnapped her.

Quick thinking saved her from being swindled out of R100000 by the gang.

The woman, a consultant at an insurance company in Johannesburg, said she still fears for her life.

She said she does promotions and drives a branded Toyota Yaris.

One day out of the blue she received a call from a man who said he and his business partners wanted her to make a presentation to them.

"On March 13 I drove to Lichtenburg where we were supposed to meet. I was with my sister who was going to Klerksdorp."

When they arrived in Lichtenburg they were met by a young man who said he was part of the group.

"He got into my car and we drove for about 15km. I asked him where we were going and he said we were almost there.

"He took us to a house and told me that the people were waiting inside. We found Samson waiting inside. I took a seat and introduced myself," she said.

While she waited for more people to arrive, the young man left the room.

"Samson took out a plastic with 'diamonds' from his pocket and put it on the table. A few seconds later eight men and a woman entered the room and they told me I was under arrest for dealing in diamonds.

"I told them they were not mine but they insisted they were," said the woman.

"They told me to give them R100000 so that they can release me and my sister. I told them I did not have that kind of money. They refused to let me call my employer or husband.

"I suggested we go to the bank where I would give them the money.

"At the bank I asked to open an account and they gave me the forms. I wrote a message for the consultant, and a few minutes later the police came and arrested three of the gang members."

Gauteng police spokesman Inspector Sanku Tsunke confirmed the incident.

"The woman was hijacked and kidnapped by Budeli and his gang. They planted fake diamonds and posed as police officers."

Budeli, 35, a convicted serial fraudster exposed by Sowetan this week, posed as a mining magnate and a major shareholder at Sasko and at cement firm AfriSam.

Yesterday AfriSam denied knowing Budeli.

To some of his victims he claimed to be friends with business tycoon Tokyo Sexwale, and founder and chairman of Pick n Pay Raymond Ackerman.

He faces charges of defrauding two lodges on the West Rand.

In 2007 Budeli was convicted of defrauding a couple of R30000 after posing as a mining magnate.

A Limpopo woman yesterday told Sowetan that Budeli claimed he was a businessman and wanted to go into a mining venture with her. He swindled her out of R50000.

Budeli was arrested on Friday, and will appear in court on Monday.