MPUMALANGA, South Africa – A Nigerian national, who owned a salon and an internet cafe, has been handed a six-year jail sentence for making false tertiary qualification certificates and selling them.
Edmond Okechuku, 45, appeared in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court on Monday where he was sentenced for fraud and forgery.
Captain Dineo Sekgotodi of the Hawks in Mpumalanga said Okechuku was arrested last October during an intelligence driven operation put in place to intercept his criminal activities
“This followed information received about the sale of fake tertiary certificates sold to the public.
“The self-employed salon and internet café operator based in Piet Retief was approached by a police agent who needed N6 Human Resources certificate for which he charged R1 500. Okechuku was arrested, charged and later released on R2 000 bail.”
Sekgotodi said Okechuku pleaded guilty on all charges during trial at the Piet Retief Magistrate Court where he was handed a six year prison sentence.
“Furthermore he was denied leave to appeal the sentence and declared unfit to possess a firearm,” Sekgotodi said.
The Hawks Provincial Head in Mpumalanga, Major General Zodwa Mokoena welcomed the sentence and applauded the team for the outstanding investigation. “We ought to put a formidable fight in protection of our education system”, she said.
Last week Ekurhuleni Metro Police officers arrested five foreigners believed be in South Africa illegally for allegedly creating fake documents ranging from matric to marriage certificates.
Officers were patrolling at a shopping centre in Kempton Park when they saw that while the centre had long closed, there was some activity in a tiny office there.
Upon entering it to investigate, they found five men, all undocumented occupants, aged from 24 to 41.
“They were found preparing and printing matric certificates, security credentials, security qualifications, marriage certificates and other official documents,” said Ekurhuleni Metro Police’s Kobeli Mokheseng.
He said the men had official stamps and were able to create a matric certificate with top marks.
“They were also able to give you top marks for whatever qualification from a university of your choice and print you a certificate,” Mokheseng said.
The men were arrested and charged under the Immigrations Act as well as forgery, possession of state-owned resources/equipment and interfering with officers’ duties.