Now Hawks coming for rotten motorists
JOBURG motorists and companies who bribed licensing officials to obtain driving licences and licence discs and to register vehicles, beware – you are probably the next to face the wrath of the law.
Following yesterday’s arrest of the first seven of 106 suspected fraudsters in the City of Joburg’s licensing department, the city has warned that companies and private individuals who paid these bribes could also be arrested.
The city has estimated that it lost up to R14.7 million through these fraudulent transactions.
“These officials pocketed the cash that should have been paid to the city and utilised for muchneeded service delivery,” said mayor Herman Mashaba. The city had identified the corrupt licensing centre officials, who would be arrested in the coming days.
“All the suspects will be immediately suspended pending swift disciplinary processes by the city. Between January 2008 and February 2016, 972 allegedly fraudulent transactions at a total value of R14.7 million were identified within the city,” he said.
Through an investigation conducted by former Gauteng Hawks head General Shadrack Sibiya, who is now head of the city’s forensic department, it was determined that the problem was not limited to Joburg. Between January 2008 and February 2016, these fraudulent transactions were valued at R155m nationwide.
“Corruption is deplorable and steals from the poor. When I took office, I declared corruption public enemy number one. When I announced Shadrack Sibiya as the new head of the city’s internal investigations, I promised to root out corruption in the city and to bring to book those responsible for its existence. I am proud to say this administration is living up to that promise,” said Mashaba.
“These arrests, made possible through close collaboration between the city’s anti-corruption unit and the Hawks, form part of a planned strike against the criminal syndicates and corrupt licensing officials in the city who have been operating licensing scams.”
These syndicates colluded with certain licensing officials to perform illegal transactions on the licensing computer system.
“I would like to thank Mr Sibiya and his team for their exemplary work. I urge them to continue rooting out corruption within the city, at every level, without fear or favour. I would also like to thank the MMC for public safety, councillor Michael Sun, for his role in ensuring the success of this investigation, despite facing resistance within council from members of the previous administration who denied the existence of any corruption,” said the mayor.
He warned that the days when corrupt officials would get a gentle slap on the wrist or be shifted to a different department were over.