File picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg - Elite crime-busting police unit, the Hawks, on Thursday, said it had nabbed three men including a traditional healer for fleecing a pensioner out of more than R1 million.  

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation said it was alerted by a bank after a female pensioner made a very large withdrawal - something her bank said she had done before.

Recounting events leading up to the arrest of the suspects, Captain Anelisa Feni said: "A 61-year-old woman from Lusikisiki visited a bank in Oxford Street, East London, to withdraw a large amount of money. A manager at the bank got suspicious and contacted the Hawks to investigate the matter as that was not the first time the woman had made a huge withdrawal".   

Feni said when members of the Hawks arrived at the bank they interviewed the 61-year-old. The woman told the Hawks she had been persuaded to withdraw huge sums of money for her boyfriend and her traditional healer. The retired teacher said she had already given them R1.2 million. 

Subsequently, Phumeza Mbana (40), Brian Kibirige (31) and Nasifu Walakira (31) were arrested by the Serious Commercial Crime unit of the Hawks on Thursday last week in Port Elizabeth. They have since appeared in the East London Magistrate Court on charges of fraud involving about R1,2 million.

Feni said three other suspects Mohamed Wamabirigwe (55), Nazib Majne (29) and Jimmy Seluwujjo(25) have been linked to the fraud and have also been arrested. 

"All six suspects, except for Mbana, are foreign nationals," said Feni.