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By Vusi Ndlovu and Anna Majavu | Sep 16, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

POLICE yesterday arrested a man following a raid on a bogus Home Affairs office in Ghandi Square, Johannesburg.

POLICE yesterday arrested a man following a raid on a bogus Home Affairs office in Ghandi Square, Johannesburg.

Members of the organised crime unit paid a surprise visit at Masa House building in Main Street and confiscated dozens of illegally produced passports, identity documents and other Home Affairs documents.

Police also found material used to produce the documents. The bust was a joint operation between the police and Home Affairs.

Home Affairs spokesperson Shivon McCarthy said police approached them when a man who had come to the country on a visitor permit reported at the Johannesburg Central Police Station that he had applied for a passport and a Home Affairs official was demanding R11000 for its release.

"We went there in a joint operation. We searched the place and found documents and Home Affairs equipment which was used to manufacture the documents. We also found the man's passport," McCarthy said.

She could not say whether the documents were fake, but said nothing indicated that they were not real. She said the service at Home Affairs would cost R1500.

The man believed to be the brother of the arrested man is an immigration official and did not report to work yesterday.

"We are still talking to the police to either call him in for questioning or arrest him," McCarthy said.

A worker in the building, who said she had worked there for four years, said she had known of the operation.

"It is a very busy office. People come in everyday," she said.

A note at the third floor of the building, where the syndicate called Green Book Immigration runs its operation, warn customers: "Due to high level of fraud no cheques are allowed."

Police spokesperson Captain John Maluleke confirmed the incident but did not have all the details.

The department has dismissed 120 personnel for corruption during the past year.

Home Affairs says it is on track to wipe out the "culture of soliciting bribes" in the department.

The Department's Deputy Director-General, Vusi Mkhize said yesterday that corruption is "an endemic problem" in Home Affairs.


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