Bogus Johannesburg Water employee arrested
A Johannesburg man who pretended to be an employee of Johannesburg Water‚ has been arrested for allegedly scamming and soliciting bribes from residents for water services.
He was arrested by the Hawks after allegedly attempting to solicit a R2‚000 bribe from a resident in Westdene.
The suspect will make his first appearance at the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes court on Monday.
“The suspect‚ who calls himself Brian‚ has been operating for quite some time and extorting monies from residents whose water bills were in arrears in places like Brixton‚ Westdene‚ Aucklandpark‚ Sophiatown‚ Bosmont‚ Riverlea‚ Westbury and Newlands. He reconnected water supply to houses that were cut off after being paid by the residents‚” said a statement from the mayor’s office.
The suspect allegedly approached a chairperson of a sectional title building which houses students after services to the building were cut off due to late or non-payment‚ indicating to the resident that the water supply would be reconnected if he was given R4‚500‚ which the resident paid.
The suspect then allegedly informed the resident that it would cost him a further R15‚000 to R20‚000 to organise a payment arrangement with the city. He suggested that the resident pay him R1‚500 monthly to avoid further cut-offs.
“Last week the resident received a message of his cellphone which stated the water meter on the property was removed. He then contacted the suspect who told him that it had to be removed because of discrepancies on the serial number. He allegedly requested R3‚000 to prevent the meter from being removed. He was allegedly paid R1‚000 early last week and told to collect R2‚000 on Friday. “The resident then contacted the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) and a sting operation was set up together with the Hawks. An arrangement was made to meet with the suspect at KFC in Sophiatown. The suspect arrived to collect the money and was arrested as he was leaving the complex with the R2‚000‚” the mayor's office said.
It urged residents who have been victims of such scams to come forward and report it through the city’s 24-hour tip-off hotline 0800 002 587 or visit the GFIS offices situated at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein.
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