Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has hailed the hitherto little-known organised crime threats assessment (Octa) mechanism aimed at syndicates a success. This follows the arrest on Thursday of nine suspects in a tax-fraud syndicate. The minister told reporters in Pretoria on Friday that Hawks’ teams arrested the nine suspects at their upmarket homes in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following search and seizure operations at 12 locations. Mbalula said the suspects’ arrests were due to intelligence-led policing under the Octa mechanism with assistance from the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service (SARS). "Yesterday, a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Hawks, SARS, [and] criminal intelligence conducted a takedown operation [leading to the arrest of] nine members of a syndicate suspected of operating a large scale VAT fraud scam, with a potential loss to the fiscus of more than R90m," said Mbalula. He said the police would have to up their game in the fight against organised crime a...

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