Examiner held for fraud

2013-12-24 00:00

POLICE yesterday arrested a man believed to be linked to a roadworthy syndicate operating in the province.

The arrest, the fifth since the beginning of the month, came as police vowed to track down more members of the syndicate.

Recently, examiners who worked at the Phoenix Testing Station, which had passed the truck that killed 24 people in the Field’s Hill tragedy, were arrested.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) acting CEO Gilberto Martins said the KwaDukuza man arrested yesterday had been under investigation since September.

“Following a sting operation conducted by the RTMC and the National Traffic Anti-Corruption unit [Ntacu] members, the man was traced to his new employer at a Hyundai motor dealership in KwaDukuza on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.”

Martins said the man was nabbed after the dealership opened for business yesterday.

“The suspect sat down at his desk while Ntacu members explained to him the nature of the investigation involving fraud and corruption charges.

“He was sought for selling roadworthy certification for motor vehicles — some had been passed without being take to the testing station.”

Martins said police had taken their time because they wanted to gather evidence against the man.

“There is huge syndicate operating in the country involving issuing roadworthy certificates for unroadworthy vehicles,” he said.

“Issuing a roadworthy certificate to an unroadworthy vehicle is a very, very serious case.”

The man was taken to Brighton Beach police station and is expected to appear in court today.

“We expect to make more arrests soon as we are still following leads on other suspects linked to the syndicate,” Martins said.

“We often face a challenge when dealing with these cases because in some cases testing station owners are unaware that their employees are involved in the syndicate.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the man was arrested for fraud and corruption after he allegedly issued a roadworthy certificate for a truck without physically inspecting it.

After the earlier arrests at the Phoenix Testing Station, owner Sudesh Ramdas, who owns several other testing stations and has interests in the transport sector, confirmed his station passed the truck driven by Sanele May.

However, he said, at the time of the accident they had not seen the vehicle for 12 months.

Jody Pillay, deputy chief of police for the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit, had said the earlier arrests were the culmination of a six-month investigation.

“Through undercover operatives we sent defective vehicles into the centre, which they passed after the suspects were paid off. A third staff member arrested was, we believe, the runner and he would hand over the money to the examiner,” Pillay had said.

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