A 30-year-old Tanzanian national who swindled two teachers out of their life earnings has been sentenced to an effective 25 years behind bars.
Lucious Charles Saba was sentenced this week in the King Williams Town Regional Court.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said Saba was found guilty of swindling two retired teachers of more than R2.5 million.
He apparently convinced the duo to cash their pension payouts and invest them in a fictitious company.
Explaining the details surrounding the investigation, arrest and subsequent conviction, NPA provincial spokesperson Luxolo Tyali, said Saba approached the two women, aged 58 and 59, and proposed love to them on different occasions in 2017.
“They both got into romantic relationships with him, unbeknown to one another,” Tyali said.
“He managed to convince them to withdraw all their pension benefits and give them to him to invest.”
Tyali said the one victim withdrew R1.6 million while the other R900,000.
She said funds were deposited in the bank account of YNM Investments, a Durban-based company, run by Saba’s acquaintances, countrymen and other foreign nationals from other countries.
“After the two women became suspicious of their “investments”, they tried to contact Saba, but he had vanished,” Tyali said.
“They alerted the police, however by the time the criminal investigations commenced, the YNM Investments account had been emptied.”
Saba, who was in the country illegally, was arrested in Durban.
“The two women identified him in an identity parade and the prosecution successfully opposed bail, mainly because the Department of Home Affairs had no records of him being in the country.”
During the trial, Saba pleaded not guilty and claimed that the “elderly” women were mistaking him for somebody else.
The court heard that the women were not able to recover their life savings.
Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Barry Madolo described the sentence as the desired deterrent to other like-minded criminals who target vulnerable members of society and rob them of their hard-earned pensions.