Cape Town businessman sentenced over illicit cigarettes

2016-08-31 22:50
Cigarettes. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cigarettes. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – Businessman Owen George Keyser was sentenced on Wednesday for transporting 40 000 packets of illicit cigarettes and having them escorted illegally.

In 2011 police noticed Warrant Officer Jerome Hendricks in full uniform driving an unmarked car with lights.

They stopped the car because they were not aware of any police actions or consignments moving through Beaufort West or the N1.

Hendricks, from the Johannesburg railway police unit, apparently informed them he was escorting goods to Cape Town to be used as exhibits during a case.

They found this story suspicious but let him and the cigarettes through.

Colleagues followed up on what Hendricks had told them and they pulled him over again to ask more questions.

Corruption conviction

His story changed a few times and they stopped and searched both vehicles at Leeu Gamka.

Officers found the consignment of Kingdom cigarettes and established they belonged to Keyser.

Keyser entered into a plea and sentencing agreement in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

He said Keyser was convicted on charges of corruption.

He was sentenced to five years in jail, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he pays R434 000 into the criminal assets recovery account.

He had to pay a R50 000 fine for corruption or be imprisoned for two years.

He also received three years' imprisonment without the option of a fine, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he not be convicted of corruption in that period.

'You will be caught'

Ntabazalila said Keyser was additionally sentenced to three years' correctional supervision.

This meant he would be subject to house arrest, monitoring, reporting to correctional services and not using alcohol or drugs.

The cigarettes were forfeited to the State.

Ntabazalila said the trial of Hendricks would resume in the same court on September 8.

The NPA welcomed the sentence.

Advocate Jacobus Hough, who prosecuted the matter, said: "Some criminals regard it as not so serious if they commit white-collar, tax-related type of offences.  Our message today is 'Beware - you will be caught'."

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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