Home Affairs officials arrested for fraud, corruption

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs is cracking down on fraud and corruption within its ranks, arresting 12 of its employees in the past two weeks.

With the help of the Hawks, the department's Anti-Corruption Unit has arrested officials at the OR Tambo Airport, Durban, Grahamstown and Mount Frere, said department's director-general Mkuseli Apleni.

"Three immigration officers at the OR Tambo Airport were arrested for facilitating the illegal entry and stay of foreign immigrants in South Africa, while the fourth allegedly took a bribe of R1 000 from a foreign national to facilitate illegal entry into South Africa without the necessary yellow fever certificate," he said.

In Mount Frere, two officials were arrested after allegedly issuing a marriage certificate to a deceased person. This was allegedly done in order to claim on an insurance policy, Apleni said.

In Durban, five of the department's employees and a local priest were arrested for allegedly registering hundreds of fraudulent marriages involving foreign nationals and South African citizens. An official in Grahamstown was arrested on similar allegations.

The Hawks and the Anti-Corruption Unit are now analysing all the marriages registered by these officials in order to determine how many fraudulent marriages they had facilitated.

"The arrests of these officials in Johannesburg, Mount Frere, Durban and Grahamstown again send a positive message that the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure those involved in such criminal activities face the full might of the law," Apleni said.

The complicity of some South African citizens in the arranged fraudulent marriages in order to help foreign nationals enter and stay in the country illegally was a serious concern, he added.

Apleni warned that those implicated in such acts would be brought to justice.

The department was also finalising arrangements to host a national anti-corruption summit. The summit, which is to take place later this year, will include the participation of government, business, labour and non-government organisations.

"We believe the summit will help give impetus to existing efforts by the department and law enforcement agencies to rid our society of the cancer of fraud and corruption," said Apleni.

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