Taxi owner allegedly forges fake funeral permits for passengers
A 44-year-old taxi owner allegedly behind arranging fake permits to allow a number of taxis to travel from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape has been arrested.
This is according to a statement released by Eastern Cape transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe.
The 11 taxis carrying more than 100 passengers travelled during the national lockdown but were denied entry into the province and sent back to the Western Cape on April 17, reports HeraldLIVE.
Tikana-Gxothiwe said the taxis were denied entry as the permits were incorrect and did not comply with the lockdown regulations.
“The arrest was made by a team of Eastern Cape detectives from the commercial crimes unit, and their investigations led them to Cape Town,” she said.
“The suspect was arrested. He is facing charges of fraud.
“Investigations revealed the accused organised fake funeral permits using one death certificate.”
She said the man claimed all the passengers were due to attend the same funeral, which raised red flags with police officers at the Aberdeen provincial border Covid-19 checkpoint.
“An investigation ensued, leading to the arrest on April 17. This will go a long way in the fight against the increasing number of Covid-19 infections in the province,” Tikana-Gxothiwe said.
She said the movement of people from one province to another, especially from the Western Cape, was one of the Eastern Cape’s biggest problems in the fight against Covid-19.
She said an investigation into the possibility of government officials being involved in the scam was at an advanced stage as the fraudulent permits had official stamps.
Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo confirmed the arrest of the taxi owner.
“The accused is alleged to have fraudulently issued permits to persons travelling between the Eastern Cape and Western Cape for funerals that were not even taking place.
“The taxi owner allegedly told people not to worry about documents required to prove the purpose of the journey. All he needed was a copy of their identity documents and cellphone numbers.
“He allegedly used one death certificate for all passengers as if they were a family attending one funeral.”
He said the taxi owner was expected to appear in the Aberdeen magistrate’s court on June 11.
“When the team interviewed 15 passengers at the roadblock, they failed to prove they knew each other or the deceased.
“Only three were the rightful holders of the death certificate.”
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