Mkondeni chop shop: Pakistanis plead guilty

2011-08-09 00:00

FIVE Pakistani nationals arrested at Mkondeni last August on suspicion of running a “chop shop” operation pleaded guilty in the regional court yesterday to a charge of being in possession of two suspected stolen vehicles.

They were each given suspended jail sentences plus a fine.

The five men entered into a plea agreement with the state.

Four of the accused, Waqar Anjum (24) Muhammad Saqib (23), Rayyaz Ahmed (42) and Muhammed Bilal (31), were each sentenced to five years’ imprisonment the whole of which was conditionally suspended, in addition to a fine of R8 000 (or two years’ imprisonment).

Magistrate Jennifer Anthoo ordered that they pay R5 000 of the fine by the end of this month.

The balance had to be paid off in instalments of R1 000 per month thereafter.

A fifth accused, Ansar Iqbal (26), who pleaded guilty to an additional charge of corruption for offering Warrant Officer Andrew Brown a R50 000 bribe to withdraw the charges against him and his co-accused, received a total suspended sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment in addition to a fine of R10 000 (or two years’ imprisonment).

Iqbal explained in a statement that he and his co-accused hired premises at Yarborough Street in Mkondeni during March 2010. They would repair accident-damaged vehicles that were written off by insurance companies.

“Some of the vehicles were incapable of being repaired or cannabalised for spare parts to be used in the repair of other damaged vehicles,” he said.

He said they had bought the two Toyota Quantums, referred to in the charge sheet, which had been stolen in Gauteng.

They replaced the engine and chassis numbers in the stolen vehicles with those taken from vehicles that were beyond repair in order to re-sell them and recoup losses they would otherwise have sustained.

They were arrested on August 19 last year when police raided the premises and found the two vehicles being prepared for resale.

Iqbal admitted he had personal knowledge that the Quantums were stolen vehicles, but nonetheless took them into his possession.

He said he arranged to meet Brown on August 28 at the Golden Horse Casino with a proposal to pay him R50 000 to withdraw the charges against them and return the vehicles.

“I duly met with Brown and handed over the money to him and we discussed the logistics of my arrangement with him,” Iqbal said.

“Shortly thereafter two policemen came up to me and placed me under arrest, informing me that I had now been arrested and charged for corruption.”

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