Minister Motsoaledi welcomes 18 year sentence of a Pakistani national for passport related crimes

The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has welcomed the sentencing of a Pakistani national, Arfan Ahmed, who has been convicted for corruption and bribing Home Affairs officials at the Krugersdorp Home Affairs office to a tune of R45 000.

Arfan Ahmed was trapped and arrested in a sting operation that included the Counter Corruption Branch of Home Affairs, the Hawks and the Police Crime Intelligence at the Home Affairs office in Krugersdorp in March 2022.

In the aftermath of his arrest, his home was searched where multiple passports which were not supposed to be there were found. For this offence, he is serving eight years. As the kingpin of the passport photo swap, he was recently sentenced to another ten years imprisonment by the Krugersdorp Regional Court. He is therefore serving a total of 18 years for his involvement in the overall passport syndicate activities.

The passport syndicate sought to undermine the country’s laws by fraudulently procuring South African passports for Pakistani nationals who did not have a legal right to possess these documents. Ahmed was working with some corrupt officials of Home Affairs in a network that spanned Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga provinces. The twelve (12) corrupt Home Affairs officials who enabled his scheme have already been fired by Home Affairs after the conclusion of their disciplinary processes.

On receiving news of the breakthrough, Minister Motsoaledi had this to say: “It’s a welcomed development. The courts are sending a strong message that crime does not pay. We’ve been waiting patiently for the sentencing of this kingpin for his role in the Krugersdorp passport syndicate. This is an illustration that in our unflinching commitment to uproot fraud, corruption and all sorts of crimes bedevilling our country, we make sure that kingpins and their lieutenants face the full might of the law.”

“Passport fraud is not a victimless crime. Every single South African is a victim because we are now forced to apply for visas when we visit countries such as the United Kingdom. This was not the case before syndicates like these denigrated our passports. We will therefore have no mercy to anybody whatsoever, Home Affairs official or outsider, who gets involved in these dastardly acts. We are doing so to protect the interests of all South Africans. I urge all citizens to immediately report such acts of crime to the nearest police station or report them to Home Affairs officials and themselves to refrain from such criminal acts of selling our identity”, said the Minister.

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