Good luck charms advertised in their pamphlets could not save three bogus traditional doctors who were arrested this week after the exposure of their sordid scams.
Ivan Bakireke 35, Julius Kasuja, 26 and Mawanda Alie, 30 found themselves facing charges of obtaining by false pretences while Kasuja was also found to be an illegal immigrant.
Bakireke and Kasuja, both from Uganda and Alie from Tanzania attracted the attention of the Broadhurst police while they were going-about their daily routine of distributing pamphlets near the railway line in Block 3.
Detective Superintendent Sergeant Marapo of No3 Police District said they decided to swoop on the false prophets following a barrage of reports by people complaining to have been swindled by traditional doctors.
“This week we found the men distributing pamphlets near the rail-crossing in Block 3 and we put them under surveilence until we located their address. Upon further investigations we discovered that they were illegally dispensing medicine and swindling people out of their money under the pretence that they are prophets and traditional doctors.”
When they got to the suspects’ house in Block 9, Marapo said they were shocked to find plastic bags full of herbs, womens clothing and more than 10 cell phones with some stuffed in a small termite mound.
Police say the termite mound was a simple but most crucial part of swindling people of their money.
“It works this way. They put a cellphone inside the mound and connect it to a small speaker for amplification. The mound is then covered with thatch. During consultation one of the ‘prophets’ pretends to be consulting with the ancestors while he’s actually communicating with a colleague hiding in another room. The colleague then responds through the hidden phone and in the process the client gets convinced that they are being healed through a higher force and they easily part with their hard earned cash,” Marapo explained.
The ring leader of the syndicate, Bakireke, trades under different names that are printed on the pamphlets. He calls himself Dr Nthati, Dr Lukoma and Dr Adam & Mama Amina. Among some of the many services he claims to offer are bringing back a lost lover, winning court cases, casting bad luck, barren women, financial problems, hips and breast enlargement and more than twenty others in the list that ends with a tag line that reads: ‘Changes are pocket friendly’.
“These guys know that people have got problems and they know that where there’s desperation there’s bound to be temptation. So they target vulnerable and unsuspecting members of the public. We received calls from one of their phones with one caller making arrangements for further payments while one of the callers was complaining that the medicine was not working,” Supt Marapo added.
Shocked neighbours looked in over the fence on Wednesday morning as the three men were detained.
The three men have been remanded in custody and according to Marapo they are facing possible depotation.