South Africans Victims of Fraud Imprisoned in Dubai
Two South African businesspeople tricked into signing acknowledgements of debt by an alleged fraudster have been sentenced to three years behind bars and face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in Dubai.
Indian national Amit Lamba, who is responsible for the incarceration of the South Africans, told AmaBhungane that the men will “remain in jail till the payment of the amount or a settlement”.
The two were imprisoned last month after Lamba reported them for failing to pay money they allegedly owed him.
Their families in South Africa have been told that the court also granted Lamba’s application for a travel ban against them – meaning that after their release, they will not able to leave Dubai if their debts remain unpaid.
Free State businesspeople Sello Tsolo and Tjoko Khambule allege Lamba duped them into signing acknowledgements of debt for 480 000 dirham (about R1.36‑million) and 538 000 dirham (about R1.5‑million) respectively. Their families say they cannot pay.
Lamba met the men in early 2012 after he was invited to South Africa by Free State-based flower export co-operative Ora Floriculture. Ora chairperson Ali Mokoena said the trade and industry department had advised him that Lamba was a legitimate businessperson. Lamba then invited them to Dubai, promising that he would invest millions in their community-based projects.