PMB man killed in E. Cape

2008-01-29 00:00

THE body of a Pietermaritzburg man, who was in Port Elizabeth on business, was found dumped near Jeffrey’s Bay on Sunday, after he went missing last Tuesday.

Bhanprakash Maharaj (45, pictured) is believed to have been hijacked. He was last seen at the Garden Court Strand, where he was staying with his boss, Fahim Akoob.

Maharaj’s boss of four years said Maharaj told him he was going for a walk the evening of his disappearance. However, he ended up taking Akoob’s maroon Toyota Corolla instead, and that was the last Akoob heard from him.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Maharaj’s older sister, Sandy Rampath, said he called his wife around 9.30 that evening, and told her that he was going for a drive as it was his first time in Port Elizabeth.

“She told him to please be careful because it was a new area for him,” she said.

The family was alerted of his disappearance when Akoob awoke the next day and found his bed untouched.

When he discovered that the car was also missing, he reported this, as it was too soon to open a missing person case.

Rampath said 10 members of the family went to PE, only to discover that by Friday evening a missing person’s case had still not been opened for him.

The family decided to do their own search, visiting about 18 hospitals and mortuaries. They searched fields and all the bridges and dump sites they could find, said Rampath.

However, on Sunday, they received a message from Akoob, who by then had returned to Pietermaritzburg, stating that his car had been tracked to Jeffrey’s Bay.

According to Rampath, the car’s number plates and disc had been changed and the person who had the car apparently gave three conflicting statements.

Eventually, he allegedly led the police to where Maharaj’s body was dumped, between Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth.

Rampath said the body was severely decomposed and the autopsy could not determine the exact cause of death, but he was identified by a tattoo.

Maharaj is survived by his wife and three children, the youngest of whom is eight.

He will be buried tomorrow.

“He was the most humble, most friendly human being. Our family is traumatised by the death, especially our elderly mother, who lost two sons two years ago,” said Rampath.

sphumem@witness.co.za

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