Scores nabbed as officials clamp down on imported used vehicle syndicate
Twelve people were arrested in three Eastern Cape towns in the early hours of Wednesday as authorities clamped down on a syndicate allegedly involved in the fraudulent registration of imported second-hand vehicles.
Those arrested include a number of Eastern Cape department of transport help desk officials, two police officers from the vehicle clearance office, an official from the Komga registering authority, an examiner from a privately-owned vehicle testing station and a number of "runners".
The suspects are expected to appear in the Komga Magistrate's Court for a bail application on Friday.
The arrests followed a year-long investigation initiated by the national traffic anti-corruption unit (NTACU) of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).
The unit had identified hundreds of imported second-hand vehicles which had been fraudulently introduced into the national traffic information system (Natis) as rebuilds.
“It has been established that a syndicate involving foreign nationals, the Eastern Cape department of transport help desk officials, (police) members and vehicle testing stations allegedly colluded in an elaborate scheme where imported second-hand vehicles destined for neighbouring countries were being fraudulently sold and registered in South Africa,” RTMC spokeperson Simon Zwane said.
Zwane said the syndicate colluded to fraudulently produce official documents such as traffic registers, police clearance certificates and roadworthy certificates to enable the vehicles to be introduced on the Natis as rebuilds.
Zwane said the task team, comprising of members of the NTACU unit and other law enforcement officers, identified key suspects involved in the syndicate.
Search and seizure operations were conducted in East London, King William’s Town and Komga on Wednesday where documents and computers were confiscated for further investigation.
Members of the task team had also seized more than 400 vehicles, Zwane said.
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