Alleged testing ­centre fraud uncovered

2017-12-13 06:02

The three men arrested in connection with a botched fraud attempt at the Lengau Testing Centre of the provincial Department of Police, Roads and Transport are set to reappear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Thursday (14/12).

Boichoko Brandsell (32), Thamsanqa Baardman (25) and Bongani Ketsekile (41) face charges of fraud and corruption. They were granted bail of R500 each on their first court appearance on 29 November.

Brandsell and Baardman are employed as security officers at the vehicle testing centre in Bloemfontein, while Ketsekile is a civilian.

Capt. S’fiso Nyakane, provincial spokesperson of the Hawks, says the elite crime fighting unit pounced on the suspects after they allegedly attempted to fraudulently release a vehicle impounded by the department.

He says the third accused, Ketsekile, believed to be the owner of the vehicle in question, was arrested on the spot at the testing centre, while the two security officers were arrested at a tavern in Bochabela, Bloemfontein.

The trio was taken into custody on 27 November by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Crime Unit, together with a 10111 task team.

Nyakane says the security officers were off duty and the arrest followed a prompt reaction after the police received a tip-off.

“Members acted on information after a man approached an official at the Lengau Testing Centre with fraudulent documents for the release of his vehicle that had been impounded by the department,” says Nyakane.

“The official pretended to be assisting him while calling the Hawks. Upon being questioned, the man revealed that he had paid R1 500 for the fraudulent documents to security officers working at the testing centre.”

Nyakane says Ketsekile had to pay a fine of R2 100 to have his vehicle retrieved from being impounded after it was found to be illegally operating as a taxi. He says the initial finding was that the trio had colluded in the issuing of fraudulent documents to retrieve the vehicle for R1 500.

Nyakane says an in-depth investigation is ongoing, adding that more arrests are imminent.

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