Nine police officers, including a former lieutenant general, and six civilians are expected to appear in various courts for allegedly defrauding the SA Police Service (SAPS) in an alleged vehicle scam involving police vehicle branding.
The anti-corruption unit arrested the 15 people at their homes on Thursday morning.
The officers were employed in areas involving supply chain management, procurement, vehicle and tactical equipment, mechanical services and fleet management. One is a station commander in KwaZulu-Natal.
The civilians were linked to companies that allegedly irregularly benefitted from the fraud.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the arrests were made after warrants for their arrest were issued.
The 15 people are expected to face multiple charges, including fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering.
Naidoo said national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole established a special anti-corruption task team, led by Brigadier Tony Perumal, following serious allegations of corruption and related crimes which date back to 2017.
“Since 2017, this task team has been conducting a widespread intensive investigation into tender fraud related to the marking of police vehicles. During these investigations nine members of the SAPS, including senior officers, private company directors and employees, are alleged to have been involved in an elaborate act to defraud the state.
“This morning, during a pre-dawn raid the task team simultaneously arrested the…suspects at their respective places of residence.
“This team and its investigations have been supported by a prosecution team from the Investigative Directorate within the National Prosecuting Authority under [the] leadership of advocate Hermione Cronje,” said Naidoo.
A 10th officer, a lieutenant colonel, has not yet been arrested.
Sitole praised the task team: “I have been kept abreast of this extensive and very complicated investigation since its inception. I am confident that the cases against the arrested suspects are watertight.
“We cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests being effected in this matter,” he said, adding that corruption within the SAPS would not be tolerated.