Bogus healers face 37 charges

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-Thirty-seven people reportedly defrauded by two fake Ugandan traditional healers have opened cases of fraud against them but this number is expected to increase as more people heed the police’s appeal to come forward.

The two ‘healers’ and another Ugandan national will be charged today and are expected to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court tomorrow for theft under false pretence, entering the country without passports and conducting work without a work permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

The two were arrested after the police were tipped off while the duo were apparently contacting one of the people they had employed to distribute fliers through which they market their services that include healing incurable diseases, winning court cases and turning around business fortunes, among others.

Namibian Police Inspector Christian van Dunem Fonsech told New Era that apart from the 22 cases already reported against these so-called healers – four people visited the police on Tuesday to open cases against the two fakes.

In addition three people personally came to the police station to open cases against them while Fonsech’s office received eight phone calls from various people claiming to be defrauded by the two men.

One of the victims, a civil servant, allegedly paid one of the ‘healers’ N$54,000 to make her salary last. She said she paid N$2,000 to begin the process, another N$2,000 for medicine and N$50,000 to cleanse her money.

While the police sifted through the two arrested men’s cellphones they called a woman who visited the duo apparently to help her bring back her boyfriend.

The woman said despite being assured that her boyfriend would come back to her after he deserted her – after she paid the ‘healer’ N$700 the boyfriend had still not come back.

Fonsech said they also received many SMS’s and calls on Tuesday afternoon from people in and outside Windhoek stating they were also defrauded by the ‘doctors’. She said these people sought these ‘healers’ to restore their broken marriages, relationships and get rid of purported bad luck.

The two ‘healers’ distribute leaflets in town claiming to bring business attraction, protect cars and houses, have rats that bring their clients money, and cast away bad spells.

“Some people are calling from Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Ondangwa and Rundu. There is one who called from Goreangab in Windhoek who paid N$5,000 for his house to be cleansed by the doctors. The doctors were due to clean the house today (yesterday),” remarked Fonsech.

She advised people to refrain from going to these ‘healers’.
The police detained the two and an Ugandan man who distributes their leaflets in the Windhoek central business district.

The police thereafter visited and inspected their rented house in Khomasdal on Monday evening. They had turned one bedroom into a consultation room where clients are ‘treated.’ The room is covered with sheets from top to bottom and only a candle is used for lighting. The room had many plastic bags with herbs, animal skins and a calabash.

Upon searching the room the police came across people’s photos that were taken there by clients and a line of men’s underwear used in their rituals.

The unidentified estate agent claimed the ‘healers’ have been renting for about two months. She said she didn’t know or suspect the tenants were ‘healers’ because when she once came to the house the tenants told her the key to the bedroom-turned-into-consultation room was missing.

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