Licence dep. arrests: Suspects could face major charges

JOBURG – People involved in licencing department fraud syndicates could face major racketeering charges.


The MMC for Public Safety, Michael Sun, said the corruption within licensing departments could be one or more syndicates and is a crime that poses serious implications if a person is found guilty.

Efforts by the Hawks, the City’s Anti-Corruption Unit and Mayor Herman Mashaba to root out corruption at licensing departments have revealed that about R15 million has been lost and 1 000 fraudulent transactions have taken place since January 2008.

Mashaba said on 10 January that 106 officials would be arrested and suspended with immediate effect, ‘pending swift disciplinary processes by the City’.

After the arrests were made public, Sun explained that most of the transactions are traceable and that further investigations and court appearances would show just how deep the fraud went. He said that the people involved in these syndicates could face major racketeering charges. Referring to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, Sun said those found guilty could be liable for large fines, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the amount involved in the fraudulent activity.

The Act stipulates a limit of a R1 billion fine if a person is convicted of organised crime, also referred to as a syndicate or an act of racketeering.

“We are certain that some of these suspects will turn State witness, I anticipate this will go on for quite some time, so we ask the public to be patient,” he said.

Sun also explained that the loss, amounting to about R15 million, would have been based on and linked to the alleged number of fraudulent transactions.

The City said the investigation is gaining momentum following the recent suspension of 15 municipal workers and the arrest of eight others in a wide-ranging investigation, spanning many months.

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