South Africa: Bribery Case Opened Against Three Pretoria Office of the Master Officials

Three officials in the Office of the Master in Pretoria face arrest after they allegedly solicited a bribe from a citizen seeking a Letter of Authority.

This comes after the office received a tip-off by a member of the public on Tuesday. Subsequently, the office reported the incident to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

"[This] will set in motion a criminal investigation into [the] three officials who are alleged to have solicited a bribe," said the Justice and Constitutional Development Ministry in a statement.

A letter of authority is a document issued by the Master of the High Court regarding the executorship of property.

The document dictates the terms of passing the estate of a deceased person to the rightful executor. This way, a letter of executorship is issued to the rightful executor, who thereby continues to manage the deceased's estate. To acquire a letter of executorship and a letter of authority, one must report the death of a deceased person to the Master of the High Court within 14 days.

The Ministry in the statement reminded the public that the services of Master of the High Court are provided free of charge.

"In this regard, we wish to emphasise that there are no circumstances that require a member of public to exchange cash with a member of the staff at the offices of the master," reads the statement.

The Ministry encouraged the public to report incidents of corruption to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701.

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