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Free State licensing scam syndicate appears in court

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A licensing scam syndicate responsible for registration of unroadworthy vehicles in the Free State has appeared in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court.

The syndicate consisting of a police officer, examiners and administrative clerks from the traffic department and private testing stations appeared on fraud and corruption charges regarding the registration of unroadworthy vehicles.

The suspects also stand accused of issuing police clearance certificates without proper examination.

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The accused were working at Lengaung Traffic Centre in Bloemfontein, P. Mvela Testing Centre in Port Elizabeth, Lephalale Private Testing Centre in Limpopo and VTEQ Private Testing Centre in Heidelberg, Gauteng.

Fourteen of the 18 were released on bail of between R5,000 and R10,000.

They were identified as Elizabeth Sepanya, 37, Isabel Hans, 49, Walter Goliath, 35, Patricia Mboda, 41, Teboho Morake, 50, Jacob Lekale, 36, William Sebitlo, 31, Lucia Manga, 39, Charles Djaka, 52, Agnes Mahamotsa, 37, Ditlhare Mofokeng, 33, Ndumiso Mthembu, 28, Thaboni Mpumlwana, 35, Joyce Nhlapho, 35 and Botumelo Mahlatji, 31.

“The case against the other four accused, Tumelo Lesufi, 30, Boitumelo Mahlatji, 31, Mankwana Lefopha, 32 and Keamogetswe Ngele, 39, was postponed to November 12 for confirmation of their addresses and bail information. They will remain in custody,” said regional NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping.

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Police received a tip-off about corruption at the Lengaung Testing Centre in Bloemfontein, and began their investigation.

“Between October 22, 2019, and June 22, 2020, an undercover agent approached the testing officials to help with the change of ownership, roadworthy certificates, police clearance and renewal of licence discs in exchange for cash.

“Lekale, a police officer based at Lengau Traffic Centre, allegedly issued police clearance certificates without proper examination being done on the vehicles. Traffic officials allegedly facilitated the issuing of roadworthy certificates and registration of vehicles without the vehicle being present at the centre.

“They received amounts ranging from R200 to R8,000. The total amount they received is estimated at R68,800,” said Shuping.

The case was postponed to January 19.

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