Woman wins back cash seized by police

2013-05-23 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG businesswoman Joyce Komane has won back R31 000 which the police seized from her when she was arrested for alleged drug dealing in 2005.

Komane sued the minister of police for the money after her conviction and 18-year jail term for dealing in drugs and other charges were set aside by high court Judges Anton van Zyl and Jerome Mnguni in October 2010.

Police initially claimed that they were not liable to pay Komane any money, but yesterday withdrew their opposition to her claim, and an order was granted in her favour by Pietermaritzburg magistrate Steve Collins.

In terms of the court order the state will be required to pay Komane R31 000, plus interest, from the date of her demand in October 2010, her advocate, Fanie Slabbert, confirmed yesterday.

Komane told The Witness she was pleased to have won back the money she was owed.

She alleged in court papers that police seized two cash sums from her on the date of her arrest, November 25, 2005, but that they never gave her a receipt.

The R26 000 cash which she had in her possession was seized by members of the Organised Crime Unit when they arrested her in Pinetown. When she was later escorted to her home in Huntley Road, Bisley, a further sum of R5 000 was confiscated.

Komane is fighting another case in the high court to win back other assets that were seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) as “proceeds of crime” after her arrest in 2005 on allegations of money laundering and of dealing in mandrax and cocaine.

She stood trial with her close friend, Ramjini Chetty, who is serving a 24-year jail term for running a drug enterprise.

Komane was also found guilty and sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment, but was later acquitted by the appeal court, which ruled that the case against her was circumstantial and the evidence inadequate to convict her beyond a reasonable doubt.

The AFU remains intent on proving in the civil trial that Komane obtained her assets — including a number of businesses and residential properties — in the course of her activities as a drug supplier.

Final arguments in that case are due to be heard in the high court next month.

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