The Mkhuhlu Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga has released two officials from a driving license testing centre (DLTC) on R15,000 bail each, after they were arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (known as the Hawks) Mbombela-based Serious Corruption Investigation Unit during an entrapment operation.
The two officials, Manoko Mashaba and Clifford Ngobeni, were arrested on Monday, according to Hawks Mpumalanga spokesperson, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi.
They are facing charges of corruption and their case was postponed to February 26 for further investigations.
“The arrest followed after information was received by the Hawks about officials who are soliciting for gratification. It is alleged that on January 8, the complainant went to Mkhuhlu DLTC to write a learner’s licence (test). After writing she found that she had failed,” Sekgotodi said.
“Then, the female examiner who was invigilating when they wrote, approached her and told her that she could be assisted in passing a learner’s licence only if she could pay her a gratification of R1,000.”
An agreement was then made for the learner driver to book again.
She was subsequently given a new date for Monday, January 15.
“The matter was reported to the Hawks’ Mbombela-based Serious Corruption Investigation Unit, and Section 252A authority (to conduct the entrapment) was granted. The complainant was used as an agent and positively transacted with the target,” said Sekgotodi.
“After the transaction, it was found that there were other learners who also paid the gratification to pass the learner’s licence test.”
The Hawks also recovered the entrapment money amounting to R1,000. Additionally, the elite crime combating unit confiscated an extra R9,600 from the DLTC officials.
“Other applicants who were also writing the test on Monday also submitted their statements, since they paid gratification as well,” said Sekgotodi.
The two officials were immediately arrested and detained, paving the way for their first court appearance before the Mkhuhlu Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
“Members of the public who paid gratification to the suspects are urged to come forward and submit their statement,” the Hawks said.
Last year, chief executive of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), advocate Makhosini Msibi, led a raid at the Meyerton licensing centre in Gauteng, where several officials were arrested after being found with money in their pockets and bags.
“We are on an operation that has been ongoing for the past six months, we were observing what was going on and we have the intelligence that we gathered over the months. We are here today to execute the arrests of those that we identified to have participated in various criminal activities,” Msibi said during the raid.
“The criminal activities here are - among others - issuance of Code 14 driver’s licences fraudulently, they issue such driver’s licences in the absence of the applicants. Some of the applicants are in the Eastern Cape, but they then get the licences here.
“It is the same with the roadworthy (certificates) that they are dealing with. The vehicles are not even here. What happens during learner licence classes, the runners are writing on behalf of the applicants. They allow the runners to sit in the exam room, and write on behalf of the clients,” he said.