Six held for fake gun certificates

2014-06-18 00:00

DURBAN police have arrested six more people in connection with fraudulent firearm competency certificates.

The certificates are required for firearm license applications.

Last week The Witness reported that 21 people were arrested for similar crimes after police realised that their competency certificates had the same serial number, and that they were issued by the same company. At the time, provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the private company that issued the certificates was also under investigation. Only one of the arrested suspects had obtained a firearm, which has since been confiscated.

Yesterday, Colonel Jay Naicker said all the suspects, including the 21 who were initially arrested, have since appeared in Kwadukuza Magistrate’s Court.

Naicker said the company under investigation is co-operating with the police to solve the case.

“We have since discovered that the certificates are not from the company under investigation,” said Naicker.

“However, we cannot divulge more information because the matter is still under investigation and more arrests are possible. Whoever is behind this made these certificates to look like they were legitimately from the company.”

Asked if the police had been able to identify the source of the fraud, Naicker said that is what the police are working to establish.

DA spokesperson for safety and security Dianne Kohler-Barnard said although it is an individual’s right to own a firearm, it was everyone’s responsibility to follow the rules when applying for one.

“Someone who owns a firearm must be thoroughly assessed and trained. If these certificates have been issued fraudulently, whoever is behind this must face the might of the law. The company behind this, if evidence shows that it is indeed responsible, should be closed down and the owner or owners arrested,” said ­Kohler-Barnard.

Siziwe Zuma, communications manager for the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira), said for Psira to take action there should be thorough investigation into the matter and evidence that a company is flouting the rules. “Once sufficient evidence is presented internal processes are followed and depending on the seriousness of the matter, individuals or companies are either fined, suspended or de-registered as service providers,” she said.

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