Truck and bus owner arrested for R89m corruption

A prominent businessman has been arrested in connection with R89 million fraud and corruption charges related to vehicle licence fees.

Morris Robert Shabalala (58), who owns a fleet of busses and semi-trailers registered under the trade name Lamavuso Family Trust, appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday facing charges of fraud, theft, and money laundering. He was released on R15 000 bail.

His arrest is linked to 17 other suspects who include two businesspeople, five former Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison employees as well licensing officials based in Mbombela, Piet Retief, Mashishing, KwaMhlushwa and Delmas registering authorities.

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The arrests took place between December 2022 and April 2023. All the suspects including Shabalala are expected  appear in the Mbombela Commercial Crimes Court on August 30.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC),  former staff members who were employed at the department’s help desk colluded with the licensing officials in fraudulently issue vehicle licence discs to corrupt fleet owners and company representatives.

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This was between 2018 and 2019 resulting in the state losing R60 million in revenue. Further investigations revealed that R89 million was the total amount of revenue lost in unpaid fees up until 2019.



Investigations are continuing and the possibility of more arrests are expected.

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