S African officials aiding Pak crime gangs

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 23:38

Johannesburg: Pakistani crime syndicates
who are engaged in ghastly crimes, including murder and human
trafficking in South Africa are being aided by corrupt
government officials here, a media report has claimed.

The Afrikaans weekly Rapport said it had confirmation
that scores of officials of the home affairs ministry had been
nabbed or were being investigated for issuing false documents
to some of the most feared foreign crime syndicates.

The syndicates used smaller rural towns in the
country as their base, with the police, national intelligence
and tax authorities investigating several Pakistani syndicates
engaged in murder, kidnapping, drug smuggling, human
trafficking, blackmail and bribery, the report said adding
that several high profile arrests were imminent.

False residence permits, birth certificates,
identity documents and passports were issued to gang members
by corrupt officials, while some South African officials also
arranged marriages of convenience with local women and
Pakistani immigrants for a fee.

Investigations by the weekly had revealed that
bribes were also paid to officials and guards at the main
repatriation centre for illegal immigrants to secure release
before they could be deported to their home countries.

Rapport investigators published a series of
photographs showing how a group of Pakistanis crossed
illegally into a farm in South Africa from the Mozambican
border.

After spending a night in police custody, the group
was due to be taken to the repatriation centre, but were
driven to an area outside the town.

There a Pakistani man met the home affairs officials
accompanying the group, before the vehicle with the Pakistanis
was driven off and the two officials left behind collected by
another vehicle.

Mavuso Msimang, director-general of the home affairs
ministry, said he was very concerned about the high level of
corruption in his department.

Msimang said he was aware of the investigations and
his department was working closely with the police and
intelligence agencies.

The Pakistani syndicates are reported to specialise
in the lucrative drug smuggling trade and preying on the many
legal Pakistani migrants who have established successful
businesses here, using threats of extortion and kidnapping.

There have even been reports of some murders as the
gangs seek to sow terror among the community.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 23:38

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