Ethiopian had R78000 fake notes

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ANOTHER man has been arrested for being found in possession of fake money in Thaba Nchu, east of Bloemfontein. The 42-year-old Ethiopian will appear in the Thaba Nchu Magistrate’s Court this morning following his arrest on Thursday afternoon.

Police said the arrest followed a response by the Selosesha tactical response team to an intelligence-driven operation in the Thaba Nchu central business district.

Police spokesperson Sgt Martin Xuma said last week the Selosesha tactical response team was on the lookout around the Thaba Nchu CBD after they received information about an Ethiopian male, reportedly in possession of counterfeit money.

He said while observing the public, members noticed the description of the suspect near a clothing chain store in Thaba Nchu.

They immediately searched the suspect and found counterfeit money valued at R78 000. Police then apprehended the man for being in possession of counterfeit money. Xuma said investigations were still continuing.

This is the second person to be arrested in as many weeks for possession of counterfeit money. Two weeks ago, a 39-year-old woman was also arrested after she was found with more than R1m counterfeit money in R100 notes.

The Hawks’ spokesperson, S’fiso Nyakane, said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects were planning to exchange the forgeries with real banknotes by depositing them at ATMs and withdrawing money later. Last year, in December, two foreign nationals aged 33 and 42 were also arrested in Reitz in the eastern Free State for possession of counterfeit money.

They were found with money worth R10 000 while on a shopping spree in the town and had cheated several businesses with their forged notes.

Xuma said residents should be cautious particularly when handling large sums of money.

“We would like to advise business owners as well as community members at large to verify money, especially large amounts of money during any business transactions in the area,” he said.

-michaelt@thenewage.co.za

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