Four City officials in court for issuing fraudulent taxi licences

CAPE TIMES, ARTICLE BY STAFF WRITER

FOUR City officials arrested for allegedly processing fraudulent operating licences to taxi owners are due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court today. They will appear on 118 charges of fraud, corruption and defeating the ends of justice, with 74 of the charges involving taxi owners. Yesterday, in a statement, the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the investigation was continuing and that motorists implicated in the fraud would also be prosecuted. The investigation had identified 25 motorists who could be involved in the fraud. The officials were arrested on Monday following a two-month investigation into irregular transactions at the motor vehicle registration department. It is alleged that they were involved in issuing licences to owners of vehicles who had admin marks on the e-Natis system to the value of R100000. Smith said admin marks, introduced by the City in 2013 as part of a package of interventions to recoup outstanding traffic fines, were given to motorists who were issued with a warrant of arrest for failing to appear in court for traffic violations. The admin marks prevent people from renewing a vehicle lecence, driving licence, motor vehicle registration and professional driving permit. “It would seem that the suspects circumvented the system and renewed documents for motorists who have admin marks against their names. One can only assume that there was an exchange of cash or other favours to make this possible. “Currently, the case docket includes 118 charges of which 74 involve taxi owners, but there is a good chance that the charge sheet will get even longer as the investigation continues,” Smith said. Seven officials in the licensing department were identified in the investigation. Three of them have since resigned and have not yet been arrested.