Fake attorneys bust for ‘extorting’ cash from Joburg hotel to ‘lower rates bill’

Two suspects masquerading as attorneys collecting debts have been arrested for allegedly trying to extort R67,000 from a Johannesburg hotel to reduce its rates bill.

The Hawks nabbed the suspects, aged 35 and 43, during a sting operation in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Capt Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the pair demanded thousands of rand from the hotel in exchange for a reduction of its R323,000 rates bill. Mulamu said they posed as employees of a law firm contracted by the City of Johannesburg.

They appeared in the Hillbrow magistrate’s court on Friday on corruption and extortion charges.

“Further investigation revealed that the suspects, who introduced themselves as Ncube Incorporated Attorneys employees contracted by City of Johannesburg to collect debt owed by its customers, demanded … compensation in order to reduce the utility bill again to R12,000,” said Mulamu.

“The Hawks’ serious corruption investigation [team] in Germiston and Johannesburg conducted a sting operation at a restaurant in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Thursday. The suspects were immediately arrested in possession of R10,000 in cash.”