Officials nabbed for border post corruption

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pretoria - Eighteen people, including police and Home Affairs officials, have been arrested for corruption at the Ficksburg border post.

The suspects were arrested on Wednesday morning during a joint operation by the Hawks, Free State Home Affairs officials, South African Police Service (SAPS) and Crime Intelligence at the border post, which connects South Africa and Lesotho.

Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda said 10 of the suspects were police officers, five Home Affairs officials and three runners.

They were allegedly involved in the fraudulent endorsement of expired passports or travel documents in exchange of money or other forms of gratification.

“The suspects, some of whom were arrested while on duty, demanded payments for their shenanigans from undercover cops and they would charge between R150 and R200 per transaction.

“A search at the house of one policeman, who was off duty led the Hawks to the discovery of over R24 000 in cash and 17 watches, which cost over R100 000 each,” Netshiunda said.

The suspects are due to appear at the Ficksburg Magistrate’s Court this morning.

They face charges of fraud, corruption and the contravention of the Immigration Act.

The National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, who attended the operation, said the Hawks are determined to curb corruption at ports of entry and whoever is involved in illegal activities does so at his or her own peril.

“We will finish corruption at the borders and to do so, we need cooperation from all other law enforcement agencies and from the public at large.

“It is only a few people who are corrupt and if the majority work together with the police, corruption at the borders will be a thing of the past,” said Ntlemeza.

The bust at the Ficksburg border is the fourth of its kind, following the Hawks’ resounding success at the Beit Bridge border post in Musina (Limpopo), Vioolsdrift (Northern Cape) and the Maseru border post (Free State). –

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