R2,5k bribe allegedly leads to Joburg official's downfall

23 January 2018 - 07:15 By Timeslive
Image: SUHAIB SALEM

A Johannesburg official and two accomplices have been arrested for accepting a bribe of R2‚500 from a resident in Selby.

The city official‚ who is an assistant director for stakeholder management in the revenue department‚ has since been implicated in a string of similar crimes.

Mayor Herman Mashaba said the alleged crime was uncovered after the resident alerted authorities that the official had demanded that she pay R5‚000 to reconnect the electricity at a school where she is a director.

The resident had contacted the city's Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) to report that the school's utilities had been disconnected on Friday‚ despite paying a bill of R18‚000.

Mashaba said the resident was allegedly referred to Thuso House‚ where the official demanded R5‚000 to reconnect the services. The resident agreed and the services were restored on Saturday. She then told the city employee's two alleged accessories‚ who pretended to be working for a contractor that disconnects services‚ that she doesn't have money and asked them to return the following Monday.

The pair were then nabbed in a sting operation conducted by GFIS and the Hawks. Next‚ the city official was ensnared. The accomplices were told to phone the official to inform him that they had collected R2‚500. Unaware that he was on loud speaker‚ the official instructed the two to deposit R1‚500 into his account and split the rest. He was then called in by the Hawks and arrested.

Investigators discovered that the city official had been supplying his alleged partners in crime with the addresses of residents whose accounts were in arrears. That information would then be used to solicit bribes.

"I would like to commend the resident who refused to be part of any corrupt activity and reported the matter to our team which acted swiftly to deal with the matter‚" Mashaba said in a statement.

"In the context of the City's billing challenges‚ acts of corruption only serve to worsen the difficult circumstances which our residents have been forced to live under for years."

The suspects are due to appear in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday.


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