5 vehicle licensing department officials arrested for corruption, fraud

Five officials from licensing offices in Ekurhuleni were arrested on Thursday in connection with fraud and corruption relating to the registration of vehicles.

The officials from the Alberton and Bedfordview licensing offices will join four other officials who were arrested last week at the Benoni licence department.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), which played a role in the arrests, the officials allegedly colluded with motorists to clear outstanding vehicle licence fees and penalties.

This was done by registering vehicles in the names of deceased people or unsuspecting individuals before re-registering the same vehicles in the names of the original owners, said RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane.

"The alleged scam is believed to be costing municipalities, provincial transport authorities and the RTMC about R80m annually in unpaid vehicle registration fees and penalties," Zwane said.

He added that investigations were continuing, and more suspects were expected to be arrested.

The five suspects – three women and two men aged between 27 and 45 – are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday.