A 28-year-old Johannesburg woman, Temwa Lisa Masoka, will spend six years in prison after a Mpumalanga regional court found her guilty of peddling counterfeit money in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
Her accomplice, Andrew Hopkins Mzaliwa, 56, escaped with a suspended sentence after the Eva hinder Regional Court found both of them guilty on 21 counts of fraud, theft and other statutory laws related to the selling of fake banknotes on Monday.
The couple, said Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, was arrested in July last year after the authorities received information on a counterfeit money operation in Secunda.
“The operation entailed the selling and distribution of fake South African and other foreign currencies to a prospective buyer. The currencies, which were good enough to beat the counterfeit pen, were meant to scam tourists,” said Sekgotodi.
The whole scam was nipped in the bud after the Hawks, in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS), caught the suspects in Secunda. The culprits were found with counterfeit Euros and US Dollars.
Sekgotodi said further investigations revealed that Mzaliwa and Masoka committed the same offences in Roodepoort in April 2013, in Tarlton in June 2014, and again in Muldersdrift in March 2017. The combined value of the money involved in the three areas amounted to about R300 000.
Masoka was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on condition that she is not found guilty of committing the same offence during the period of suspension. She was also sentenced to four years for peddling fake banknotes.
“As if that was not enough, she was sentenced to five years in jail for dealing in foreign currency, a further six years for theft and 12 months imprisonment for incitement to commit an offence, wholly suspended for three years on condition she is not found guilty of committing the same offence during the period of suspension.
“Her sentences will run concurrently while serving her six years prison term,” said Sekgotodi.
Meanwhile, Mzaliwa was sentenced to four years imprisonment for fraud, which was suspended for five years on condition that he is not found guilty of committing the same offence. In addition, he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for conspiracy, suspended for three years on condition that he is not found guilty of committing the same offence.