Syndicate Scandal: Traffic Department Clerk Linked to Corruption in Free State

A Free State traffic department admin clerk, Mosethle Samuel Masopa, has appeared in court on corruption, fraud, and money laundering charges. Linked to a broader syndicate issuing unlawful licenses, the case, involving 14 others, is under investigation by the Hawks.

Mosethle Samuel Masopa, a 49-year-old administration clerk at the Lengua Testing Centre in Free State, has recently made headlines for his alleged involvement in a driver’s and learner’s license syndicate. Masopa, along with 14 others, faces serious charges of corruption, fraud, and money laundering. The allegations stem from an intricate scheme involving the unlawful issuance of licenses.

The case, spearheaded by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (commonly known as the Hawks), shines a light on a deep-rooted issue within the traffic department. Hawks’ provincial spokesperson, Warrant Officer Fikiswa Matoti, revealed that intelligence about the syndicate, involving traffic officers, private examiners, and driving school instructors across Bloemfontein, Brandfort, Botshabelo, Ladybrand, Phalaborwa, and Nelspruit, was obtained in 2022.

In response to the intelligence, Operation Catfish was launched. This operation meticulously tracked illicit transactions over time, eventually gathering enough evidence to bring the case to court. The Director of Public Prosecutions in the Free State subsequently authorized arrest warrants for 20 individuals on January 26.

On January 29, 2024, the operation saw the coordinated arrest of nine males and five females, aged between 30 and 57, across various locations. Despite the severity of the charges, Masopa was released on a warning during his initial court appearance. His case has been postponed to August 14, pending transfer to the regional court.

This scandal underscores significant corruption within the traffic department and highlights the ongoing efforts by law enforcement to tackle such pervasive issues.

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