Criminal charges have been laid against people and organisations who are trying to fleece R100 million from the local Ethiopian refugee community in a scam offering South African permanent residence permits.
A complaint of fraud has been made at the Johannesburg Central Police Station by the United Ethiopian Association of South Africa and the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) against organisations and people mentioned in media reports about the scheme.
It is claimed in the reports that the Ethiopians made the offer through the South African Development Foundation.

The report said the proposal was submitted to the Deputy President of South Africa, David Mabuza, and the Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu. A spokesperson in Mr Jackson’s office said agreeing to the proposal was “like selling the country”. The reports also mentioned a Luke Zunga as an “economist of the African Diaspora Forum”. The chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum, Dr Abdul Elgoni, distanced the organisation from what he labeled “a scam”.

“This so-called proposal to raise R100 million is nothing but a scam to fleece members of the Ethiopian community in South Africa. Fraudsters and other criminal elements are intent on exploiting vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in attempts to make a quick buck,” DrElgoni said.

He said for a while now several persons had been masquerading as leaders and members of the ADF mainly to extort money from migrant communities. “We have decided to take firm action against these fraudsters by laying criminal charges against them.

“They are sowing confusion among the migrant community and have a caused collateral damage to the genuine activities of the ADF and our affiliated organisations like the United Ethiopian Community Association.”

He said there was no position of an economist or a Mr Luke Zunga among the volunteers working in the ranks of the ADF.

”We have also informed the police of other schemes to extort money from unsuspecting migrants and which they promised to investigate.”

The leadership of the United Ethiopian Community Association Professor Mulatu Zeruhun, rejected and condemned in the strongest terms the proposal to the South African government.

The chairperson of the association, Professor Mulatu Zeruhun said: “This is nothing but a scam by fraudsters and con artists to make money. They are exploiting the vulnerable situation in which refugees and asylum seekers, in particular, find themselves in South Africa.

“Many of our people who face documentation challenges are uneasy about their future. This, however, makes them easy targets for people who see an opportunity to make money with false promises.”

He said the community was embarrassed by the perceptions created by the scam proposal in the South African society, the office of the presidency and the government.

“We want to assure the government and the South African society at large that genuine members of the Ethiopian community are not involved in the scheme or party to a proposal to buy residence permits.

“This is a criminal attempt to undermine the sovereignty of the South African state to which we will not be a party and condemn in the strongest terms”, he said.

Please direct all media inquiries to:
Amir Sheikh, PRO of the African Diaspora Forum, Cell no 0728711310