Fake passport kingpin nailed in South Africa

Pakistani national Arfan Ahmed has been convicted of corruption and bribing officials at the Krugersdorp Home Affairs branch.

The Krugersdorp Regional Court sentenced him to 18 years’ imprisonment after finding him to be “the kingpin of the passport photo swap.”

He received a 10-year sentence for his involvement in passport syndicate activity and eight years for possessing multiple passports found at his home.

The Department of Home Affairs said the passport syndicate undermines South African laws by fraudulently procuring passports for Pakistani nationals who don’t have the right to possess them.

Ahmed was colluding with corrupt Home Affairs officials in a network that covered the Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Mpumalanga provinces.

“The twelve corrupt Home Affairs officials who enabled his scheme have already been fired by Home Affairs after the conclusion of their disciplinary processes,” the department said.

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi applauded the sentencing of Ahmed, describing it as 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,” said Motsoaledi.

“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.”

The minister said all South Africans suffer from passport fraud, adding that the department will show no mercy to those committing such crimes.

“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,” he said.

“This was not the case before syndicates like these denigrated our passports.”

Motsoaledi urges South Africans to report passport-related crimes at their nearest police station or Home Affairs office.

Alternatively, they can call the National Anti-Corruption Hotline at 0800 701 701 or email [email protected].

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Fake passport kingpin nailed in South Africa