Gem shop owner admits fencing

2011-12-14 00:00

THE owner of a Pietermaritzburg jewellery shop, Onyeka Eneanya Okwudinko, admitted in the regional court yesterday that he bought jewellery worth an estimated R1 million from two men in Pietermaritzburg on September 19 for R57 000, even though he suspected it was not theirs.

He sold most of the jewellery in Johannesburg.

Okwudinko pleaded guilty in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court yesterday to a charge of receiving suspected stolen property and admitted the jewellery belonged to ­Pietermaritzburg resident Vijee Padayachee.

The court was told that Okwudinko, who owns a small shop in Church Street, was prepared to testify against the two men, Aadhil Ally and Gavin Chetty, who allegedly sold him the jewellery. They are in custody awaiting trial in the matter.

In a statement read to regional magistrate Paul Ableman by his lawyer, W.S. Ngwenya, Okwudinko said he was tempted to buy the jewellery in order to make a profit as he wanted to pay for his mother’s medical expenses back home in Nigeria.

“I was desperate at that time,” he said.

He said he was approached by the police after he had managed to sell most of the jewellery in Johannesburg and was waiting for payment.

They asked him about the jewellery they had found on him and he could not provide them with proof that it was his.

Okwudinko said he asked the men who sold the jewellery to him where they had got it and they told him “not to ask too many questions”.

He suspected it was not theirs and that they did not have the owner’s permission to sell the jewellery, but because he was desperate he took it.

Sentencing was postponed to tomorrow.

The Witness has established that some items of the stolen jewellery have been recovered by the police investigating officer in the case, Warrant Officer Calvin Adimulam.

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