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Nine cops nabbed in border crime syndicate

Staff Reporter

MASERU — Nine South African police officers and about six immigration officers at Caledonspoort border post were on Tuesday arrested for allegedly allowing people from Lesotho to enter South Africa without valid passports. According to South African media reports the crime fighting unit, the Hawks, descended on the border post and arrested the officials following reports of fraud and corruption.

Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko told the media that the officers were allegedly receiving between M150 and M200 to allow people without passports to cross over. “The officials allegedly allowed people to enter the country from Lesotho without documents and charged them R150 each,” Ramaloko said. “In some instances taxi drivers delivered passports at the port of entry to be stamped, in order to extend the days of holders in SA, at a fee of R150. This had been orchestrated for a long time. The officials were able to make over R100 000 per day. At one instance officials shared R200 000.”

Ramaloko said people without passports would arrive at the border in a bus and a police officer entered the bus and counted them. “Each person was charged R150 or R200 and the bus was allowed to enter South Africa.” The police also confiscated about M38 000 which was found in a boot of a car belonging to one of the arrested immigration officers. The suspects each face at least eight counts of fraud, corruption and contravention of the Immigration Act. The group was expected to appear in the Fouriesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

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