Businessman Morris Shabalala nabbed for alleged fraud and money laundering

Crime FEATURED General

Morris Shabalala (59), who owns a fleet of busses and semi-trailers registered under the trade name Lamavuso family trust,  was released on R15 000 bail by the Nelspruit Magistrate Court on Tuesday, July 25 after he was arrested by the Nelspruit Commercial Crime Court for fraud and money laundering.

Hawks spokesperson Dineo Sekgotodi, said his arrest is linked to the arrest of 17 other suspects who include two business people, five former Mpumalanaga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison employees and licensing officials based in Mbombela, Piet Retief, Mashishing, Kamhlushwa and Delmas registering authorities.

The arrests took place between December 2022 and April 2023. All the suspects will appear in the Mbombela Commercial Crimes Court on 30 August, 30. They are currently out on bail.

“The arrest followed a lengthy investigation carried forward by the Nelspruit Serious Commercial Crime Investigation and RTMC Anti-Corruption.It is alleged that during December 2018 officials from Municipal Vehicle Licensing department colluded with truck owners who were owing a lot of money and ordered them to channel the money into  their personal accounts so that they can renew their licences without paying the full amount,” she said.

Meanwhile the Mpumanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe, has welcomed the arrest of a businessman with regard to fraud and corruption in the renewal of vehicle licence disks.

“We once more reiterate our stance that corrupt officials and business people must face the full consequences of their actions. The government is losing millions of rand due to these individuals with low levels of integrity. Their actions also put vehicles that are not roadworthy on the road. They must be dealt with harshly,” said Shongwe.

He is appealing to fleet owners and trucking companies to refrain from colluding with officials at licensing centres.

“We will continue to cooperate with Road Traffic Managent Corporation (RTMC) and other law enforcement agencies in investigating these cases. They must continue with vigour and relentlessness to end corruption in the driver and vehicle licensing environment.

“We also remain committed to deal with corruption within our licensing unit and that is why several officials and traffic law enforcement officers lost their jobs after they were fingered in fraudulent activities and bribery while they were on duty,” added Shongwe.

Shongwe is further calling on members to report any corrupt officials or law enforcement officers through the government’s anti-corruption toll-free hotline, which is: 0800 701 701