Alberton Traffic Department employee arrested for assisting fuel theft syndicate, in court

Published Jun 19, 2024


An employee at a traffic department in Gauteng has been charged with fraud.

Petros Vusumuzi Mahlaba, 44, an employee at the Alberton Traffic Department appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, June 18 on charges of fraud and contravening the National Road Traffic Act.

This comes after he was arrested on Friday, June 14, by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks).

The provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Warrant Officer Thatohatsi Mavimbela said the arrest was carried out by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team.

“The arrest emanates from an investigation that began after Bidvest Protea Coin Security guards cornered members of a syndicate that tampers with essential infrastructure. Members of the syndicate were nabbed while draining fuel from a Transnet pipeline in Klipfontein farm in Nigel in October 2023, and the truck used during the syndicate was seized. The matter was reported to the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit.

“Investigation revealed that the horse and trailer truck used during the commission of crime belongs to an owner from Newcastle. The investigation team further discovered that the syndicate fraudulently changed the registration number of the truck from a Mpumalanga province registration number to a Gauteng province registration number without the knowledge of the owner,” Mavimbela said.

Further investigating with the assistance from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Licensing Evaluation and Monitoring Unit found Mahlaba was implicated.

“The dedicated investigator found that Mahlaba had implemented and authorised the transaction by changing the registration number of the truck by forging signatures as well as using a copy of the owner's Identity document on October 10, 2023,” Mavimbela said.

Head of the Hawks in Gauteng, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa commended the meticulous job conducted by the investigating officer and appealed to the public to report any suspicious activity in relation to the tampering of petroleum pipelines.

The matter against Mahlaba has been postponed to June 25, for a formal bail application.

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