Elsie Letlole, 65, of Manyana shared how two scammers who claimed to be prophets took half a million from her account. She claims that not only has she been robbed of her money but also of her spiritual faith and trust.
It took five months for Letlole to withdraw all of the half a million from her Barclays Bank account, where she had saved her money. She withdrew all her money in the hopes of getting spiritual assistance, but instead she was left broke and miserable.
Narrating her sad plight to The Monitor, Letlole said the two fraudsters – one claimed to be Thuso Thuso from Letlhakane village and another identified himself as Khumo Seabelo, who worked as a police officer at Ramotswa police station – tricked her into believing that they were genuine prophets.
Looking back on how it all started, the sexagenarian said it was on July 26 when she was getting into her car from Choppies in Ramotswa village when a man who introduced himself as Thuso and a prophet blocked her car claiming he had spiritually seen that she is facing problems.
“I didn’t see him coming. I just heard the car door being blocked from behind. When I looked I saw a man standing by the door identifying himself as a prophet. O ne a mpolelela gore wa bontshiwa ebile o bona ke nale madi a mantsi mo bankeng mme madi ao kesa kgone go itirela sepe ka one ka gobo a leswe ebile a batla go a rapelelwa a ntshiwe sefifi (He said he had a vision of me having a lot of momey in the bank, but that it was dirty money, that’s why he must pray for it so that he chases away the bad luck).”
“He had me when he said ‘my money was not benefiting me as I had wished’. That is when he hooked me in,” she recalled.
“I do not know what came to my mind because from that moment I fell for his tricks and believed everything that they were saying, it was like I was brainwashed,” said the heartbroken elderly woman, who is still mystified as to what could have come over her.
She said whilst they were still chatting about the matter, another man who identified himself as Seabelo approached and greeted them joining in their conversation.
“That is when we exchanged numbers and they told me not to disclose the alleged spiritual vision to anyone not even my children, explaining that it would interfere with their ability to cleanse the spirit, no matter how hard they pray for it. I got home and kept the conversation I had with the two strangers to myself. The following morning I received their phone call and they asked me to meet them at Matlotleng junction along Lobatse road and I drove there as they requested,” she said.
She said after that meeting, they took a decision to start withdrawing the money for prayers.
“We drove to Gaborone where I went to Barclays Bank, withdrew the money and gave to one Seabelo who had said he will keep the money safe until I have withdrawn all of the money from the bank. From July to December, I kept on withdrawing the money until my account was empty. Every time when I came to withdraw the money, they would accompany me, but waited in the car as I withdrew the money,” Letlole said.
Letlole said on December 18, 2018 when she tried to phone the duo as they had agreed to start the cleansing ceremony their mobile phones were off. Their phones have been unavailable to this day.
“I wanted to contact them to know when we will start the cleansing, but both of their mobile phones were off. I tried reaching them everyday. Days became weeks, weeks turned into months until I decided to report the matter to the police. That is when something clicked to my mind that I have been defrauded,” Letlole said.
The elderly woman said she does not know how the duo that could have been in their 40s tricked her into believing they were genuine prophets managing to swindle her of half a million.
“I suspect that they might have done something to me, so that I believe their tricks. I am one who watches television all the time, read newspapers warning us about such people, but it took me five months to discover that they were fraudsters and what hurts the most is, I only realised after giving them all of my money. I am a Christian. I am a member of Seventh Adventist Church. I do not know what got into my mind to believe such prophets exist,” Letlole said.
She pleaded with members of the public to be cautious at all times to avoid falling prey to false prophets like she did.
Botswana Police Service’s (BPS), deputy public relations officer Near Bagali said no arrest has been made as yet and explained that police investigations into the matter are ongoing.
Bagali said they are greatly concerned about the number of people who fall prey to criminals who swindle them of substantial amounts of money. He said a number of police stations are inundated with reports of people who easily give away their hard earned cash to criminals who masquerade as prophets.