IOLHome Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that five employees were suspended due to their involvement in the lawful residency permits obtained by Malawian preacher Shepherd Bushiri and his family. He has disclosed that the officials who were suspended in his department include Bushiri's escape, but not Bushiri himself.
Internal investigations have led to the accusation of disciplinary procedures against five people in the Department of Home Affairs, who helped Shepherd Bushiri obtain his permanent-residence visa in South Africa.
About Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee that he wouldn't provide any information on the issue, owing to its sensitivity.
Can we be certain that we have the "hard-core" situation, one which implicates Bushiri but does not discuss how he left the country? The Hawks, the SAPS, criminal intelligence and state security have the responsibility for this," he added.
Bushiri told us that it is the probe of the Home Affairs Ministry on how he obtained his citizenship papers.
Media claims that Bushiri had “captured” the department were rebuked by Motsoaledi.
It's said that Bushiri is able to ensure that bureaucrats from the Home Affairs department will all do his bidding. This includes making sure clerks, adjudicators, and MPs serve him and overlook laws that might put him in legal trouble.
Senior people arranged things in order to provide Bushiri, his wife, and their two small children permanent residence cards, as the newspaper discovered.
“You don't have to worry about Bushiri causing any problems in your nation's domestic affairs,” he assured me.
The Minister of Health, Motsoaledi, has claimed that Bushiri worked with people, and that five employees have been suspended for their involvement.
The agency has gone to court twice because of an employee who lost the first and second suits, according to him.
“The DC is an internal procedure that is complicated,” he said. “We are waiting for other law enforcement authorities to play their part since the DC involves disciplinary hearings, but also a criminal aspect that will be handled by other law enforcement organizations.”
Motsoaledi said that the department was having difficulty figuring out the reason for the collaboration between the church leader and the government authorities, and that they thought banks were not ready to disclose their financial information.
In Bushiri's instance, our government personnel have knowingly provided him forged papers; we know for a fact that they have been doing so... So what benefit does Bushiri get from this, financial or emotional? Were they paid out large sums, and I don't mean by him.
"You can only get there by doing something about their finances," he added, "and as far as financial knowledge goes, we are lost."
When asked how to research a bank, he advised to go to the Financial Intelligence Centre and phone banks, "because as far as getting information, banks would put up a fight if you ask about your customers, I promise you that."
They will explain that clients would flee if they knew their secrets. “That is what we encounter when dealing with these situations,” says Motsoaledi.
In November of last year, Bushiri escaped on bail with his wife and took refuge in Malawi in a message posted on Facebook, saying that they had left because local authorities could not address their threats. They were on trial, accused of R102m worth of fraudulent activity including theft and money laundering.
It was discovered, according to Motsoaledi, that cases of immigration, and particularly problems with permits, occupy 66% or two-thirds of the work undertaken by his department's anti-corruption section.
He said that the former head of the presidency's General Director Cassius Lubisi would lead an investigation team investigating licenses issued by the department since 2004 in order to discover whether any had been granted in cases of corruption.
Motsoaledi said the inquiry was investigating every kind of visa in the mining industry that had been granted in the last decade, particularly those in the form of permits.
The immigration act went into force in 2004, therefore that was the year they selected in particular.
When the subject arose, he said, they could look at allegations from previous years if it is relevant.
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