- Alleged underworld boss Nafiz Modack was arrested on gun-related fraud charges on Tuesday.
- He is one of 21 people, including police officers, implicated following a three-year police investigation.
- The accused were allegedly involved in obtaining or issuing fraudulent firearm licences.
Sixteen people - including alleged underworld boss Nafiz Modack and several high-ranking police officers - will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on charges of fraud and corruption following a three-year investigation.
Modack was arrested on Tuesday.
According to national police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo, "intensive and extensive investigations" following alleged wheeling and dealing at parts of the Central Firearm Registry (CFR) have led to the involvement of at least 21 people and the arrest – to date – of at least 16 people on multiple criminal cases.
These include eight police officers, two former police officers, Modack and other alleged underworld figures and gun dealers.
Naidoo said the National Anti-Gang Unit in the Western Cape under the leadership of Major General Andre Lincoln has been investigating, among others, charges relating to fraud, defeating the administration of justice and contravention of the Firearms Control Act on multiple case dockets in Edenvale, Kempton Park and Norwood in Gauteng.
"During November 2017, police received information on alleged fraud and corruption relating to firearm licence applications taking place between Cape Town and Gauteng," Naidoo said.
Several people 'obtained licences unlawfully'
"In January 2018, it was found that several people, including Cape Town underworld figures and their family and friends, allegedly obtained their competency certificates and firearm licences to possess a firearm as well as temporary authorisation to possess a firearm in an allegedly wrongful manner."
Investigations revealed that applicants made these applications in Gauteng, specifically in the Edenvale, Norwood and Kempton Park areas.
The investigations were centred on police stations in those areas, even though the possibility of other stations being involved cannot be ruled out, Naidoo added.
"These investigations initially began when a few persons of interest appeared to possess firearms 'legally'. The investigations started to reveal, among others, that residential addresses were falsified or misrepresented on the applications, information regarding the status of applicants were not revealed and mandatory checks by police Designated Firearm Officers (DFOs) were not conducted."
The application forms were found not to be signed by the applicants and the motivations supplied by the applicants as well as the testimonials given by character witnesses were also not signed.
These applications were then recommended by the DFOs and were forwarded to members of the provincial Firearms, Liquor and Second-Hand Goods Control Unit (FLASH) and eventually the Central Firearm Registry, where they would be approved.
Five yet to be arrested
Following the almost three-year investigation, warrants for the arrest were issued for at least 21 people.
At least five others, including a senior officer of the South African Police Service, are yet to be arrested.
Those arrested on Tuesday – together with the five outstanding suspects, if arrested – will be appearing again in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on 10 July.
The other suspects, including Modack, will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
National police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole has applauded the perseverance of the team in this investigation.
Police have appealed to anyone who may have any information on crime to contact the police on its Crime Stop number 08600 10111. Information can also be communicated via the My SAPS app. Police say all information will be treated with strictest confidence and informers may remain anonymous.