Joint Media Statement issued by the South African Police Service, Department of Home Affairs and Department of Correctional Services
Honourable Minister of Home Affairs; Mr Malusi Gigaba;
Honourable Minister of Justice and Correctional Service; Mr Michael Masutha;
National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Kehla Sitole;
Directors General present;
Deputy National Commissioners present;
All Senior Officials present;
Members of the media;
Greetings to all you gathered here this Monday morning, as we pride ourselves as the Criminal Justice Cluster on the sterling work done by the high level multi-disciplinary team of detectives led by members of South African Police Service Crime Intelligence.
The specialised team of detectives worked tirelessly in cracking the backbone of a complicated web of corrupt activities, involving officials from the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Correctional Services.
The success story that we are sharing with the nation today, directly responds to one of our cardinal pillars of stamping the authority of the state. This is a clear indication of the seriousness of government in clamping down corruption within our own ranks.
Members of the media, during pre-dawn raid on Friday morning (16 March 2018) members of the anti-corruption investigation teams from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and Department of Correctional Services (DCS) led by the South African Police Service Crime Intelligence arrested 9 out of 11 government officials on charges related to corruption.
Since the middle of 2016 the SAPS Crime Intelligence has been investigating alleged corrupt activities of a multitude of both Correctional Services and Home Affairs officials. The investigation was a joint operation involving the three departments.
The officials were allegedly involved in illegally releasing at least 36 parolees, all of which were women, over a period of more than a year without following proper procedures for financial gain. The foreign parolees, most of which were drug smugglers or drug mules, had to be released and deported to their country of origin through Lindela deportation centre, instead they were sent directly to the Johannesburg Department of Home Affairs regional office for an unprocedural and illegal early release.
Members of the media, some of the illegally released parolees and ex-convicts left South Africa through their own expenses and travel arrangements. Some remained in South Africa of which six of them have been rearrested and it emerged that these six had no intention of leaving the SA.
Moreover, the benefit of this for the parolees is that they would be free to do as they please, they would not need to report to the authorities of their country of origin and some would continue with their smuggling activities.
The investigation further revealed that, South African officials were paid in cash or into their bank accounts from the parolees families or friends. At times, the officials would demand bribes of the amount of R3000 for those from African countries and R6000 for those from outside Africa, i.e. South American countries.
Meanwhile, what was further discovered by the anti-corruption team was the detail of the corrupt activities whereby, the arrested officials executed their plan to an extent that the suspects from Correctional Services compiled fraudulent parole documents; which enabled the suspects from Home Affairs to create false release documents to assist the inmates to flee South Africa or remain in the country. In light of this, the Minister of Home Affairs has directed the department to review the internal control measures as well as delegation of powers.
Moving forward, we will adopt an integrated approach involving all relevant departments to ensure proper processes and procedures are adhered to.
The six parolees that were rearrested included three Guyana nationals from South America who were arrested for narcotics related offenses and one Zambian who was incarcerated for narcotics plus two Zimbabweans who were arrested for theft.
Furthermore, the nationalities of the other illegally released parolees includes females from Guyana in South America, Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.
Members of the media, it is important to note that at the beginning of the investigation, initially 26 corrupt officials were identified, however after extensive consultations with the Directorate for Public Prosecutions, it was decided that 11 officials should be indicted given the level of evidence against them. Indeed, eleven (11) Warrants of Arrest (J 50’s) were issued and executed on Friday last week around Soweto and Johannesburg.
To date, Nine (9) suspects were arrested and detained in Johannesburg central. The 10th suspect is still being sought and the 11th suspect died in a motor vehicle collision last month.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the arrested suspects will face charges of Contravention of the provisions of section 4 (1) (a) of the combatting and prevention of corrupt activities Act, Act 12 of 2004 and Contravening of section 115 (b) of act 111 of 1998 (aiding and abetting). These Counts varies from one suspect to the other based on the commission of an offense.
All the suspects will appear in Johannesburg magistrate court today 19 March 2018.
We would like to further applaud the anti-corruption team led by members of SAPS Crime Intelligence for having apprehended the suspects and for cracking the syndicate.
We are equally pleased to announce that more and more of such coordinated operations of this magnitude will be conducted. We would like to send a strong message to everyone that we are indeed serious about rooting out corruption inside and outside of our ranks.
The business of squeezing crime to zero continues…
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa