Man wrongly implicated in Durban kidnapping
Jonathan Erasmus, Zululand Fever
Pietermaritzburg - A Richards Bay man has, through what may be described as a turn of bad luck, been falsely implicated in the alleged abduction of a Durban primary school girl by her alleged drug addicted mother, reports the Zululand Fever.
Dr Andrew Atuhaire, who has a medical practice in Richards Bay and owns a guest-house in Meerensee, was registered as a suspect when a car, bearing one of his vehicles’ registration numbers, was used as the getaway car in the kidnapping.
On Tuesday morning a Durban woman, Calene Rutgers, who according to the SAPS is believed to be a drug addict and prostitute, removed her daughter McKayla, 10, from Seaview Primary School in Durban in a Corsa bearing NRB plates registered to a Meerensee home.
And although the plate was for a Toyota Hilux, Atuharie also owns a Corsa, albeit a different colour. In the initial stages of the investigation this raised suspicion for investigators.
"None of my vehicles left Richards Bay and neither are in a condition to do so. I have been really surprised about this. I have been contacted by the police. Someone must have duplicated the plate from my vehicle as there is no other explanation," said Atuhaire.
Staff members at the Meerensee guest-house, who drive the Hilux and Corsa, found the whole incident "bizarre".
"The Hilux has been in the yard all day - even the security camera will confirm this, while the Corsa ran a few local errands," said a staff member.
Police close to the investigation said it is "very likely" that the number was duplicated by the person driving the getaway vehicle, or that the eyewitness who saw the vehicle drive away may have got a digit ‘or two’ wrong.
"There are still unscrupulous number plate print operators allowing criminal elements access to fake plates. We believe we know who the driver of the vehicle is.
"He is a former boyfriend from Durban who has ties in Cape Town. We will most likely eliminate [Atuhaire] as a suspect. Our main concern is to find this girl," said the police source.
A case of kidnapping has been opened at Bellair Police Station, Durban.