The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the arrest of six government officials in Mpumalanga for fraud and theft of over R60 million.
The six government officials were arrested by the Hawks in Mpumalanga for various charges including fraud, theft, money laundering and contravention of section 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA Act).
In a statement, SIU spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, said five of the accused were employed at the Mbombela Traffic Department (MTD), and one at Mbombela Local Municipality (MLM). The accused appeared in the Mbombela Magistrate Court on Monday.
“The officials were involved in over 10,000 illicit transactions and cost the Department of Transport a combined loss of approximately R60 million,” said Kganyago.
The arrested officials are Thembi Milicent Zulu-Motlohi, Agnes Nozipho Ndzinisa, Xoliswa Ngcelwane, Nompumelelo Winny Nxumalo, Allman Masuku and Nkosinathi Gumede.
Kganyago said the charges that the six suspects face are as a result of an SIU investigation.
“The SIU was authorised to investigate, amongst others, unlawful or improper conduct by employees, officials or agents of the Institutions or any other person, which relate to the – (a) registration and licensing of motor vehicles; (b) registration of motor vehicle ownership or licensing details; (c) issuing of driving licenses, learner’s licenses or professional driving permits.
“The SIU probe uncovered that the accused officials manipulated the eNaTIS system in what is known as ‘money dumping of fees’. They would recruit companies or individuals whose Motor Vehicles (M/V) are heavily in arrears in terms of M/V licensing and penalties incurred due to failure to pay licensing,” he said.
Kganyago said the suspects would then dump those fees by changing the ownership of the affected M/V to unsuspecting individuals, deceased individuals or dormant companies.
“Some fees are also dumped on government vehicles using a GG authority code. Only government vehicles are licensed using the GG authority code.
“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU referred evidence pointing to criminal conduct that was uncovered during the investigation to the attention of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action,” he said.