MASERU — Police last Friday arrested a Seapoint woman who was operating a bogus police and army recruitment agency.
Police say the 43-year-old woman was operating the bogus recruitment agency from her home and they suspect she defrauded dozens of young people who were desperate to join the police and the army.
It is suspected that the phony agency had been operating since July this year.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha this week said the woman, whose name he could not reveal because she is yet to appear in court, told her victims that she could fast-track their recruitment into the security forces.
He said so far police knew of 32 people who were swindled out of their money in the elaborate scam but they believe that there could be more victims.
“The recruits were paying bribes to the agent in order to get jobs in the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS),” Masupha said.
“We have five people who claim they had been promised jobs in the LDF and LMPS by the agent,” he said.
When police interviewed the five victims on Monday they discovered that they had paid bribes ranging from M2 860 and M2 960.
“Two victims claim they paid M2 860 each. Another person claims he paid M2 960,” Masupha said.
He said the suspect had application forms for recruitment into the police and army.
The forms, Masupha said, had letterheads and details of the LMPS and LDF.
He added that the forms also had “names and signatures of senior officers in the LMPS and LDF who were purported to have approved the agency”.
Masupha was however reluctant to give further details on the forms saying such information would scuttle investigations.
So far investigations have revealed the agency was a well-organised scam that thrived on peddling the names of senior officers in the police and army to give an impression that it was authentic.
Victims were told that the agency had the approval of senior police and army officers who made it easy for them to be in place in the training academies of the security forces.
The suspect claimed that her other partner was in South Africa working with the army and police officers.
Masupha said the suspect also conducted interviews with the “recruits” wearing police regalia to give the impression that the agency was really connected to the police and the army.
After the interview, Masupha said, the “recruits” were given letters showing that they had been successfully recruited into the army and police but were just waiting for the current trainees to graduate before they could start training.
He said the police believe the suspect had clients from all over the country.
“Some of her victims are from Pulane, Khukhune, Sefikeng, Seforong, Phamong and ‘Moteng.”
He urged other people who may have been swindled in the scam to approach the police with information.
Investigations are continuing.