Home Affairs officials nabbed over false IDs
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Pretoria - In A strong message to the rotten apples within Home Affairs’ ranks, law enforcement officials nabbed three officials from the department and their partners for allegedly issuing fraudulent IDs.
The officials were arrested in separate operations in Emalahleni and Pretoria.
Edwell Muntu Monareng, a mobile operator from the Emalahleni Home Affairs office in Mpumalanga, was arrested in a sting operation involving the Hawks, SAPS Crime Intelligence and the department’s counter-corruption unit. He had allegedly paid a bribe of R13 000 to a an officer from the unit who was investigating him for birth certificate fraud. The bribe was to make the fraud charge disappear.
The officers reported the attempted bribe and a sting operation was arranged to arrest him when he paid the bribe.
Monareng was also being investigated for fraudulently registering a Pakistani national and issuing him a birth certificate.
Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said Monareng became the focus of the investigation after a member of the SAPS based at King Shaka International Airport questioned the Pakistani national, who was preparing to travel on a South African passport.
The Pakistani looked older than the age recorded in the fraudulent passport. Upon further investigation, they found his Pakistani passport with a different date of birth and surname.
The man was arrested and charged with possession of a fraudulent South African passport and contravention of the Immigration Act. The police referred the matter to the Home Affairs Counter-Corruption Unit.
“Using technology-enabled security features built into the system, an internal investigation established that Monareng had registered the Pakistani’s birth and issued a birth certificate. This birth certificate was later used to apply for the passport at the Empangeni Home Affairs office in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The investigation into Monareng also flagged another 131 transactions, suspected to be fraudulent and completed by Monareng between April 2018 and January 2019.
“The department is continuing with the investigation into the 131 suspected cases and will be initiating a disciplinary process against Monareng.”
Monareng, who was granted R3000 bail, will be back in court on October 9.
In a separate operation, law enforcement arrested Chinas Mohlolo, a former Home Affairs supervisor who left the department in September last year. Percy Mabena, an administrative officer at the Home Affairs office in Pretoria, and Zimbabwean nationals Thubelihle Nyathi and Khumbulani Moyo were also arrested.
The unit initiated an investigation after an official reported to them that Mohlolo had demanded the login details of the junior official.
Mohlolo then accessed the system and changed Moyo’s records to Callos Mazibuko, with a South African ID.
After Moyo’s arrest, he identified Nyathi, who is not a Home Affairs official, as the person who introduced him to Mabena.
“It is alleged that Mabena liaised with Mohlolo to have Moyo’s records fraudulently altered. The department is investigating transactions linked to both Mabena and Mohlolo. Disciplinary processes are being initiated against Mabena,” the department said.
All four accused appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on fraud and corruption charges. They also face additional charges of contravening the Immigration Act, the Identification Act and the Births and Deaths Registration Act.
Mabena and Mohlolo were granted R2000 bail, while Nyathi and Moyo were denied bail and remain in custody. The accused are scheduled to appear again on September 7.
Motsoaledi said he was encouraged that there were officials at Home Affairs and in the police who reported and acted swiftly to root out corruption. “We will continue to monitor all reported cases to ensure that perpetrators and beneficiaries of fraudulent activities are brought to justice and sent to jail where they belong. We are clearly benefiting from introducing technology-based security features in our processes.”
“It is only when people report suspected wrongdoing that we will turn the tide against maladministration, fraud and corruption. I support the efforts of law enforcement agencies in ensuring that all forms of maladministration are rooted out of the Department of Home Affairs.”