Hawks bust traffic officials

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Three employees from the Govan Mbeki Municipality are among the people arrested in a multi-provincial investigation into fraud and corruption at traffic departments.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in the Free State (Hawks) together with Crime Intelligence and Tactical Response Team (TRT) on Tuesday arrested nine traffic officials and two civilians for corruption and fraud at the Benoni Traffic Department and Secunda Traffic Department during the termination of Project Crocodile which was registered early this year to curb fraud and corruption at the Benoni and Secunda Traffic Departments.
Annelie Thompson (55), a senior clerk, and Thulile Nkonde (32) an examiner, were arrested and hand cuffed at the vehicle testing station and licensing offices in Manie Maritz Street on Tuesday morning.
They appeared in the Benoni Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday along with the accused from Benoni.
The case is postponed to 25 October for official bail applications.
They remain in police custody.
Another examiner from Secunda, Ezekiel Mofokwane (33), was arrested and charged with being in possession of stolen property after the Hawks found government documents (license forms) in his vehicle.
He appeared in the Secunda Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and was released on bail of R1 000.
According to Capt S’fiso Nyakane, spokesman on the Project Crocodile, the traffic officials together with their runners allegedly pocketed thousands of Rands by accepting bribes from learner drivers who failed their tests, as well as from individuals desperate for learners’ licenses and drivers’ licenses without undergoing the testing processes.
“The investigation ensued after numerous complaints from the public. “The Hawks also worked undercover to gather evidence.”
Nyakane said the Warrants’ Unit also seized numerous documents at the testing station.
The seven officials in Benoni and two in Secunda were arrested whilst on duty and the runners were arrested at their trading place in Benoni near the testing grounds.
The National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, has welcomed the arrests and also vowed that the unit will leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting serious fraud and corruption.
“How many people are driving with illegal drivers’ licenses on our roads?
“How many people have lost their lives because of greedy government officials who want a quick buck, disregarding the safety of road users?
“It cannot be accepted.
“The Hawks will continue to leave no stones unturned in fighting serious fraud and corruption in government.
“Be warned, we will strike when we are least expected and we vow to continue with our work without fear or favour,” said Ntlemeza. – Arisja Misselhorn.

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