Indians arrested for fake marriages in South Africa

Durban, August 25,2004

South African police have arrested 17 Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals for allegedly being involved in a fake marriage scam to stay in the country illegally.

"These people have either paid women to marry them or they have married women without their knowledge with the collusion of corrupt officials," Leslie Mashokwe, a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, said on Wednesday.

He said all the foreign nationals were arrested in and around Johannesburg over the past few days. They would be deported if they were found to be in the country illegally.

"After obtaining the marriage certificates, the foreign nationals obtain divorce certificates so that they could remain in the country," the spokesperson said.

Mashokwe said that 401 women across the country had discovered that they had been married fraudulently to husbands who were total strangers to them.

They made the discovery following a campaign by the Department for single women to check their marital status.

"We have received thousands of complaints from people about the fake marriages. We are currently investigating about 3000 fake marriages."

In addition to Pakistan, Indian and Bangladesh nationals, citizens from several African countries have also been found to be involved in the scam.