2 SA of­fi­cials nabbed for Beit­bridge bor­der cor­rup­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Thu­peyo Mu­leya

TWO se­nior South African im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers based in Limpopo prov­ince have been ar­rested by that coun­try’s spe­cial anti-cor­rup­tion unit, the Hawks, for al­legedly tak­ing bribes from Zim­bab­wean trav­ellers and asy­lum seek­ers at Beit­bridge Bor­der Post.

They were ar­rested fol­low­ing in­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tions which be­gan in 2012.

The Hawks are South Africa’s Direc­torate for Pri­or­ity Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tions (DPCI), which spe­cialises in in­ves­ti­gat­ing or­gan­ised crime, economic crime and cor­rup­tion.

In most in­stances th­ese tar­geted crimes are re­ferred to the Hawks by that coun­try’s Head of State or the South African Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS).

The spe­cial unit swooped on the sus­pects on Thurs­day evening, ar­rest­ing them for fraud, cor­rup­tion and ex­tor­tion.

Hawks’ pro­vin­cial spokesper­son for Limpopo, Cap­tain Mapimba Maluleke, said one of the of­fi­cers was Mafe­mani Peter Baloyi (36) who was an as­sis­tant man­ager at Giyani and was re­cently trans­ferred from Beit­bridge Bor­der Post.

He said the sec­ond sus­pect Nt­shengedzeni Sharon Mu­dau (42) was sta­tioned at Beit­bridge.

“The male sus­pect is fac­ing charges of cor­rup­tion, fraud and ex­tor­tion, which he com­mit­ted dur­ing the last three years at Beit­bridge Bor­der Post, where he was the man­ager.

“He was in the habit of solic­it­ing for bribes from asy­lum seek­ers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

“The other se­nior im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer was ar­rested af­ter stamp­ing a pass­port of a Zim­bab­wean il­le­gal im­mi­grant for a fee. She was un­aware that the man was al­ready in po­lice cus­tody charged with il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” he said.

Cap­tain Maluleke said the pass­port has since been re­cov­ered from the sus­pect.

The duo ap­peared at the Musina mag­is­trates’ court on Fri­day, fac­ing charges rang­ing from ex­tor­tion, fraud, and cor­rup­tion.

Mu­dau was granted R2 000 bail pend­ing trial on Septem­ber 28 while Baloyi, who is fac­ing charges of cor­rup­tion, fraud and ex­tor­tion, was re­manded in cus­tody to Au­gust 15.

The ar­rest brings to 17 the num­ber of South African bor­der of­fi­cials who have been ar­rested in Limpopo prov­ince be­tween May and Au­gust this year on charges of cor­rup­tion and fraud.

In May 15 peo­ple, in­clud­ing po­lice and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers along with cus­toms clear­ing agents, were ar­rested on al­le­ga­tions of fa­cil­i­tat­ing il­le­gal mi­gra­tion among other un­der­hand deals at the Beit­bridge Bor­der Post.

They were ar­rested fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­ducted over a pe­riod of six months.

Four peo­ple have been ar­rested on the Zim­bab­wean side of the bor­der since the in­tro­duc­tion of se­cu­rity cam­eras, af­ter they were seen tak­ing bribes from trav­ellers.

Among those ar­rested are two po­lice and two im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers.

This came shortly af­ter the South African gov­ern­ment gave Zim­babwe the nod to de­ploy of­fi­cers to is­sue pass­ports, birth cer­tifi­cates and na­tional iden­tity cards to lo­cals re­sid­ing in that coun­try.

The Deputy Home of Af­fairs Min­is­ter, Cde Obe­d­ingwa Mguni, said the doc­u­ments will be is­sued at selected points in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try as soon as South African au­thor­i­ties iden­tify sites to con­duct the ex­er­cise.

He said they would also ap­proach Botswana for a sim­i­lar ar­range­ment.

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