Manhunt on for PPE fraudster

Johannesburg – The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks have requested the public assist in their pursuit of a woman who is alleged to have scammed unsuspecting investors of about R10 million.

In a joint statement, SAPS and the Hawks said from June 2019 to date, Swereen Govender allegedly lured family and friends to invest in her personal protective equipment (PPE) business by promising lucrative dividends in return.

“Further investigation revealed that Govender initially payed minimum dividends to investors and then completely stopped at a later stage, and she has allegedly been lying to her investors that she cannot be contacted, as she has been placed in a witness protection programme,” reads the statement.

Multiple cases have been registered at various police stations in Gauteng, and have since been referred to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation in Germiston for further investigation.

The SAPS and Hawks said the investigation team had further revealed that Govender created fraudulent suppliers’ certificates from different government departments for PPE.

They said Govender has since been positively linked and is wanted in relation to fraud cases in Gauteng. In some of the cases, she is alleged to have taken people’s life savings, retirement and disability pensions, etc., leaving these people absolutely destitute.

“People are reminded to be extremely cautious when investing money with individuals. If an offer appears too good to be true, know that it probably is and one should rather consider investing one’s capital with long standing reputable investment companies,” reads the statement.

A warrant has been issued for Govender’s arrest, and the investigation team circulated her on the local and international movement control system.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Govender or anyone who has fallen prey to her scam is urged to come forward with information to the investigating officer, Captain John Marepa, on 082 822 6351.

“Anyone caught harbouring Ms Swereen Govender must know that this is a criminal offence,” the authorities said.


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