Former home affairs official jailed for issuing fraudulent passports

A former employee at the department of home affairs in Mpumalanga has been found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in jail for corruption.

According to police, Nhlanhla Mathebula processed fraudulent passports for foreigners using South African citizens’ identity documents.

The foreigners were mostly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to police.

The 40-year-old former government official was convicted and sentenced by the White River magistrate’s court on Wednesday after information was received and investigated by the Hawks’ serious corruption investigation unit in Middelburg.

Mathebula received 10 years for count one to 12 for corruption.

For count 13 to count 24, which is contravention of section 49 of the Immigration Act, Mathebula was sentenced to three years direct imprisonment.

The three-year jail sentence will run concurrently with the 10 years direct imprisonment.

The court also granted a confiscation order against Mathebula in terms of section 18 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

He also has to pay R94 600 he benefited as gratification for processing dozens of  fraudulent passports.

Police Captain Dineo Sekgotodi said Mathebula was part of a syndicate that received gratification from foreigners for issuing fraudulent passports.

“The home affairs official was involved in fraud and corruption by processing fraudulent passports for foreign nationals using South African citizens’ identity documents,” said Sekgotodi.

After an investigation, the Hawks discovered that Mathebula colluded with South Africans to assist foreigners obtain fraudulent passports using their identity documents.

Four of his co-accused – Faud Mohammed Ali, Christopher Marillier, Gabriel Samuel van der Merwe, and Sifiso Kheswa were also arrested.

Other suspects were each sentenced to R100 000 fine or three years imprisonment on charges relating to contravention of the Immigration Act.

They further received R40 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment each. 

The provincial head of the Hawks, Major-General Gerber, welcomed the sentence and applauded the investigating team and prosecution authority for the jail sentence.

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