Alleged passport fraudsters appear in court

At least 27 people alleged to be involved in a fraudulent passport syndicate have appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on charges of corruption.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Gauteng regional spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, explained that the alleged syndicate relied on South Africans selling their identities to them in exchange for a sum of money.

“Law enforcement authorities received a tip-off about the alleged passport making syndicate that works with Home Affairs officials, to identify South Africans that are willing to sell their identities for R500. The SA citizen’s details would then be used to produce a passport for foreign nationals and be sold at R40 000 each,” she said.

Mjonondwane said the 27 people were arrested following a multi-disciplinary sting operation.

“The arrest happened after a multi-disciplinary operation, involving the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Cash In-Transit Task Team, Department of Home Affairs’ Anti-Corruption, and Johannesburg Central Tactical Response Team.

“The sting operation was conducted at the offices of the Krugersdorp Department of Home Affairs in the early hours of [last week] Friday,” she said.

The alleged fraudsters are expected back in court on April 5 for bail preparation investigations.

The accused will remain in custody until their next appearance.