Two suspects are due to appear in the Smithfield Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of fraud and stock theft.
OFM News reports that Free State police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele, says they were arrested after they were found in possession of sheep that were defrauded from the owner at Heuningkrans Farm near Smithfield, Free State. A total of 561 sheep out of 800 were recovered by the police, says Makhele.
The two suspects, aged 34 and 40, were arrested by the Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit of Wepener after two months of thorough investigations that took place between the Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces between December 2020 and February 2021.
“The suspects acted on false pretences as they claimed to be representing a certain bank that works with farmers and enters into business deals with the farm owner, which involves 1000 ewes and 300 rams valued at R4.9 million. The farmer then signed and delivered the livestock (800 sheep) to Machado (Louis Trichard), Limpopo, as per the agreement with the (bank) suspects. He became suspicious when no money was deposited into his bank account for the delivery he made and decided to call the suspects, but they were not available on their cellular phones. He contacted the bank direct. He was told the bank had no business with him. That is when the police became involved,” says Makhele.
One suspect was arrested in December 2020 at Giyani, Limpopo, and has since appeared before the court and granted R10 000 bail with strict conditions.