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Alberton Traffic Department employee arrested for fraud

Petros Vususmuzi Mahlaba from the Alrode Licencing Department was arrested for fraud and will again appear in court on June 25 for a formal bail application.

Officers of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation detained Petros Vusumuzi Mahlaba (44), an employee of the Alberton Traffic Department, on charges of fraud and contravening Act 93 of 1996 of the National Road Traffic Act on June 14.

The suspect appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on June 18 for the two counts.

The arrest is the result of an inquiry that started when Bidvest Protea Coin security officers cornered members of a cartel that tampered with vital infrastructure.

In October 2023, the syndicate members were apprehended while removing fuel from a Transnet pipeline at the Klipfontein Farm in Nigel. The truck used by the gang was seized, and the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation section was notified of the situation.

According to the provincial spokesperson of the Hawks, Thatohatsi Mavimbela, after doing an investigation, the team found that the owner of the horse and trailer truck used in the crime was a Newcastle resident. They also learnt that the syndicate had fraudulently changed the truck’s registration number from Mpumalanga Province to Gauteng Province without the owner’s knowledge.

“Further probes by the dedicated investigator with help from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Licensing Evaluation and Monitoring Unit found that Mahlaba had implemented and authorised the transaction by changing the registration number of the truck by forging signatures and using a copy of the owner’s identity document on October 10, 2023,” said Mavimbela.

The provincial head of Gauteng’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa, praised the investigating officer’s diligent work and urged the public to report any suspicious behaviour involving the tampering of petroleum pipelines.

The court postponed the matter to June 25 for a formal bail application.

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