Bangladeshi national nabbed while escaping with fake passport

A Bangladeshi national was on Friday arrested at the OR Tambo International Airport while trying to leave the country using a fraudulent SA passport.

This as the Home Affairs continues with its “clampdown” on the production and use of fraudulent documents. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the department had traced where the passport was issued and which “corrupt” Home Affairs official issued it.

“The corrupt official who issued it is one of those who are on the radar of the department’s counter-corruption branch, hence another arrest is imminent,” said Motsoaledi.

Motsoaledi reiterated his department’s commitment to curbing immigration crimes. “We will not tire or be dissuaded from fighting to eliminate corruption in all areas of Home Affairs, whether perpetrated by a foreign national or a South African.”

His spokesperson Siya Qoza said the accused applied for asylum in December 2015 and that his application was rejected on the grounds that he did not need asylum. Qoza added that the suspect had since been trying to appeal the rejection.

It is not the first time that the suspect undermined the country’s Immigration Act, according to Qoza, who said in April the suspect was found in possession of a travel permit purportedly issued by the “government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh”.

“The significance of this is that an asylum seeker cannot have any document issued by the country of origin because they are supposed to have run away from there,” said Qoza.

Meanwhile, three other Bangladeshi nationals were granted R10 000 bail by the Vanderbijlpark magistrate’s court on Friday.

According to media reports, Mohammed Alamin, 26, Fuzlol Alom, 36, and 34-year-old Mohammed Solayman Ahmed are charged with their compatriot, 27-year-old Mohammed Rahman, who remains in police custody after he abandoned his bail application.

They face charges of murder, kidnapping, and attempted extortion. It is alleged that the four accused kidnapped their compatriot, assaulted him on tape, and sent the video to his family in Bangladesh.

According to media reports, the accused then killed the man after his family refused to pay the ransom money that they had demanded. The deceased body was later found dumped in the bushes in Bophelong outside Vanderbijlpark.

More criminals have also been released on bail this week. The magistrate’s court in Krugersdorp on Thursday granted R2 000 bail to 26 of the 27 people arrested for allegedly being part of a fake passport syndicate and postponed the case to July.

One of the accused was denied bail because the court heard that he is a flight risk, as he allegedly entered the republic illegally and obtained his asylum fraudulently. His asylum status was subsequently revoked.

The group, which includes Home Affairs officials and Somalian nationals, was arrested in March. It is alleged that they would use SA citizens’ details to produce passports for foreigners, which they sold at a whopping R40 000 each.

The group faces charges of corruption, being in possession of suspected fraudulent documents, and contravening the Immigration Act.

Also read: Suspects in fake passport syndicate out on R2 000 bail

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