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South African Agriculture company been scammed- ( World Contact Press)

Valtrac got scammed! South Africa 


Yes, we did. But, with a little help from our friends, and a lot of determination, we got our KUHN 1290 LSB back. 

Valtrac is the sole importer or a range of agricultural equipment for South Africa. We launched the KUHN branded large square balers (LSB) at NAMPO in 2017 and have done extensive demonstrations and marketing on this product range.

In November 2018, a person using the name Pieter Nkosi phoned our sales manager on his cell phone and enquired about the availability and pricing of a LSB. He claimed to be working for Afgri Equipment. He explained that “Afgri” had tendered to supply a LSB to a government project, the tender had now been awarded to them and delivery had to be made before the end of November, but their usual supplier had no stock. Valtrac only very occasionally supplies equipment to Afgri. Pieter had good knowledge of the specifications, pricing and competition on the balers. During the next week, they had a few telephone conversations, and decided that a demonstration model Kuhn 1290 baler would meet their needs.

Someone called Johan, who claimed to be from the purchasing department at Afgri then contacted our office for a proforma invoice. This was emailed and shortly thereafter we received an Afgri purchase order, from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Delivery was to be made directly to the training centre in Pretoria East. Normally, a sales representative or product specialist from Valtrac would go to deliver the equipment and commission it, but “Pieter” claimed that this was not required as Afgri has their own specialists and the equipment needed to be delivered to the training centre urgently but would not be used immediately.

On Friday 23 November, when Valtrac’s truck was close to the delivery location (cnr Lynnwood and Solomon Mahlangu drive), “Johan” phoned and said that there was no space for the lorry to enter the office complex and that they would offload the baler in an open space next to the road and then bring a tractor to tow it into the yard. A group of men, dressed in blue shirts and chinos met the truck and supplied the driver with a receipt with the Afgri logo on. Our delivery notes and other documentation was signed by “Pieter”. Our driver was not happy with the offloading arrangements, but after some phone calls between the “Afgri employees” and our management, the baler was offloaded.

On Monday morning, we noticed a mistake on the invoice and tried to contact “Pieter” or “Johan” to correct it, but they did not respond to phone calls or emails. On Tuesday, we spoke to other contacts at Afgri, and realised that the purchase order and delivery receipt numbers were not Afgri issued numbers.

The sales manager went to the delivery location and realised that we had been scammed. We opened a case at the Silverton police station. Since the baler is the only one of its kind in Southern Africa, is very visible and requires a large low bed trailer (or tractor) to be transported, we thought that someone must have seen where it was moved to. We distributed a photo via social media and had flyers printed which were handed out near where it was delivered to. We also contacted SAAMA to warn other equipment manufacturers they should be on the lookout. We were quickly contacted by other suppliers who had lost a planter, a feed mixer wagon, tractors and other equipment in exactly the same way.

We also found the same modus operandi was used in the motor and construction equipment industries. See (amongst others): https://www.rmi.org.za/syco-machinery-warn-of-scam/

With the help of local residents and businesses operating around the delivery location, we heard that it was loaded (with much difficulty) on Friday evening. The alleged delivery address was in Marble Hall.

A Valtrac team followed the information to Marble Hall, where residents had seen it being towed through town by a tractor. However, no one knew where it had gone.

On Friday 30 November, the baler was found standing in the back yard of the Marble Hall police station. It had been received as an “abandoned implement” and the officer said that a resident of Marble Hall found the baler in his drive way and did not know what to do so he delivered it to the police station.

The reward was split three ways between people who assisted us with valuable information which led to the recovery of the baler.

The scope and arrogance of the scammers goes far beyond what a small-town SAPS office, or company like ours can contend with. Our case, together with the other related case numbers which we obtained from our industry colleagues, has been transferred to the SAPS commercial crimes investigation unit. We hope that they will be able to collect enough information to make arrests, but at the time of writing, very little investigation has been completed.

We would like to thank each person who shared our search on WhatsApp groups, Facebook, Instagram and or other methods. To those who phoned and provided information – a HUGE thank you. To each driver, petrol station attendant and citizen who was friendly and helpful and said “it went that way and good luck” THANK YOU! It has been a wonderful experience to see that people from all walks of life are fed up with crime and that there is a true spirit if Ubuntu!

We hope to never be in this situation again and suggest the following advice to other supplier and businesses as well.

Do not trust @gmail and generic email addresses.
Use the business relationships which you have to verify information by telephone or preferably in person.
Work with established contact details, don’t just press reply or phone back on the same number.
Verify delivery addresses and details before making deliveries. Don’t allow deviations.
Listen to your employees and their gut feelings.
If you have been a victim of crime – speak out! As the first people in our industry to go public with our stupidity and vulnerability, we were also the first to get equipment back in perfect condition.

( This article was directly posted on our 30 million users Platform around the world) 


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