Police Minister Bheki Cele says nine officials from the Departments of Home Affairs and Correctional Services are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Cele says the officials were arrested in Soweto and Johannesburg on Friday on charges of corruption after they released thirty-six parolees without following due process.
The minister says the officials allegedly did so for financial gain.
“The officials were allegedly involved in illegally releasing at least 36 parolees, all of whom were women, over a period of more than a year without following proper procedures for financial gain. The foreign parolees, most of whom were drug smugglers or drug mules, had to be released and deported to their country of origin through Lindela Deportation Centre. Instead they were sent directly to the Johannesburg Department of Home Affairs regional office for an unprocedural and illegal early release,” says Cele. “Some remained in South Africa, of which six of them have been rearrested, and it emerged that these six had no intention of leaving South Africa.”
The rest left the country of their own accord.
Cele says the parolees hail from Guyana in South America, Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.
Cele says since the start of the investigation in 2016, at least twenty-six corrupt officials were identified.
“However after extensive consultations with the Directorate for Public Prosecutions, it was decided that 11 officials should be indicted given the level of evidence against them,” says Cele. “Nine of the suspects were arrested and detained in Johannesburg central. The 10th suspect is still being sought and the 11th suspect died in a motor vehicle collision last month.”
Cele says the investigation revealed that the officials were either paid in cash or the money was transferred into their bank accounts by families or friends of the parolees.
“Officials would demand bribes of the amount of R3000 for those from African countries and R6000 for those from outside Africa, like South American countries.”
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