South African officials arrested over Mandela memorial 'fraud'

JOHANNESBURG, June 23 Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:51pm EDT

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JOHANNESBURG, June 23 (Reuters) - Six senior South African government officials were arrested on Monday for alleged fraud relating to the memorial service in December of former president Nelson Mandela, police said.

Millions of South Africans and more than 70 world leaders attended events to commemorate the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died at 95 on Dec. 5.

The police's elite 'Hawks' investigation unit said the arrests related to fraud, money laundering and corruption amounting to 6 million rand ($565,200).

Two transport company owners were also arrested a month ago, bringing the tally of people under investigation for defrauding the government during the Mandela ceremonials to eight.

"The 6 million was purported to be payment for ferrying the community to the memorial service but the location where they said they transported the community to was not even booked for the memorial service," Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko said.

The officials appeared in court and were released on bail. Their trial has been set for Sept. 1, Ramaloko said. ($1 = 10.6164 South African Rand) (Reporting by Xola Potelwa; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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