Passport Stamp Racket: Immigration Officer, Cop Arrested At OR Tambo

Johannesburg – The immigration officer and policeman arrested at OR Tambo International Airport for unlawfully extending the stay of foreign nationals in South Africa will appear at the Kempton Park Magistrate Court on Monday, 13 March 2023.

Before the pair were arrested on Wednesday, (8 March 2023), the immigration official had been under observation for some time. His extravagant lifestyle had attracted the attention of the authorities.

The net closed in on him on Wednesday evening when he was caught red-handed stamping nine passports of nationals from different countries.

The passports were of foreign nationals who had overstayed. 

Allegations are that the immigration official back-dated the stamp to falsely indicate that the passport holders had departed the country in February 2023 and returned on Wednesday.

“Initial investigations have established that a runner brought the passports to the airport and handed them over to the policeman, who, using the fact that he was in uniform, went through security into the immigration area,” said the SA Home Affairs Department.

“He then linked up with the immigration official who proceeded to stamp the passports.

“An undercover police officer caught and arrested them. It is believed that the immigration officer charged R2 000 for each of the passports he stamped.”

The police are on the trail of the runner and the owners of the passports.

Commenting on the arrests, Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi said: “We are indebted to the brave and patriotic law enforcement officers for the arrest of each rascal that cheapens the status of our country. 

“I am extremely encouraged by these patriotic acts and I am even more determined to continue the fight against corruption in Home Affairs.”

Dr. Motsoaledi said he welcomes the arrest of an immigration official with his police accomplice. 

“The act of stamping passports for departure and re-entry of people who remain in our country is extremely worrying,” the minister said. 

“The owners of these passports can commit crimes in the country and claim that it could not have been them because ‘they were not in the country’ at the time of the commission of the crimes. 

“They can use our departure and re-entry stamps on their passports to argue their cases in court. 

“This is simply inexcusable. It makes foreign nationals with bad intentions believe that South Africa is up for the take.”  

Dr. Motsoaledi warned staff operating out of OR Tambo International Airport and other ports of entry that they were being watched every single day.