Fraud leads to 18 arrests

A police constable is among the 18 suspects arrested for fraud and corruption at the Lengau Traffic Centre in Bloemfontein.

The case involves the alleged fraudulent registration of unroadworthy vehicles and issuance of police clearance certificates.

The case was postponed to 19 January pending further investigation after the suspects appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on 6 and 12 November.

The suspects are Const. Jacob Lekale (36), Elizabeth Sepanya (37), Isabel Hans (49), Walter Goliath (35), Patricia Mboda (41), Teboho Morake (50), William Sebitlo (31), Lucia Manga (39), Charles Djaka (52), Agnes Mahamotsa (37), Ditlhare Mofokeng (33), Ndumiso Mthembu (28), Thaboni Mpumlwana (35), Joyce Nhlapho (35), Botumelo Mahlatji (31), Tumelo Lesufi (30), Mankwana Lefopha (32) and Keamogetswe Ngele (39).

According to Phaladi Shuping, spokesperson for the director of public prosecutions, Lekale allegedly colluded with accomplices in the fraudulent registration of unroadworthy vehicles and issuance of police clearance certificates.

“He allegedly issued police clearance certificates without properly examining the vehicles,” said Shuping.

In addition, traffic officials allegedly facilitated registration and the issuance of certificates for vehicles not at the centre.

The suspects include traffic examiners and administrative clerks of the Traffic Department and private testing stations.

Fraud was detected at the Lengau Traffic Centre, P. Mvela Testing Centre in Port Elizabeth, Lephalale Private Testing Centre and the VTEQ Private Testing Centre in Heidelberg.

According to Shuping, preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects received approximately R68 800. Each received an amount ranging from R200 to R8 000.

The fraud and corruption at the Bloemfontein traffic centre was exposed thanks to information from reliable sources.

“The police applied for authorisation to monitor such activities,” he said.

Between 22 October 2019 and 20 June 2020, an undercover agent approached testing officials to assist with the change of ownership of a vehicle.

The agent also asked for a roadworthy certificate, police clearance and the renewal of licence discs in exchange for cash. This led to the arrest of all 18 suspects.

The suspects have been granted bail ranging from R5 000 to R10 000.

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