Officials, Basotho nationals nabbed for fraud, corruption

Pretoria – The Hawks have arrested 20 Home Affairs officials and six Basotho nationals at the Maseru port of entry.

The 26 suspects, aged between 41 and 28, were arrested on Thursday for contravention of the Immigration Act, defeating the ends of justice and money laundering.

It is alleged the Home Affairs officials, together with their runners, pocketed thousands of rands by endorsing expired passports or any travel documents from Basotho nationals crossing over the border into South Africa.

The suspects were arrested while on duty and the others, who were off duty, handed themselves over to the Hawks. 

The runners were arrested at their alleged trading place.

The arrests form part of Project Cone which was initiated in 2015 to curb fraud and corruption at the country’s border posts.

The National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza has welcomed the arrests. He said the Hawks will leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting corruption.

"The time is over to be talking about removing the cancer of corruption in government. Be warned that the craving to make money by illegal means which is continuously eating into our everyday life is over,” General Ntlemeza said on Thursday.

He said he should not have to remind government officials that they must at all times conduct the affairs of the country with the highest level of integrity. 

“It is important that I repeat it. Corruption will not be tolerated in government. It's either you shape up or ship out," he said.

The suspects are expected to appear at the Ladybrand Magistrate Court on Monday. - SAnews.gov.za