R4m in drug assets to be seized

2010-10-13 14:52

The Asset Forfeiture Unit will seize property worth more than R4 million that belongs to an alleged drug cartel.

The court order for the seizure of five houses, a farm and two luxury vehicles was granted yesterday by the High Court in Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

“The court found that these properties were the proceeds of a drug cartel run by Pragasan Naidoo. Some of the properties were allegedly used to package and distribute the drugs.”

Naidoo was serving a life sentence for a double murder.

The criminal case against him in the drug matter had been partly heard in the Pretoria Magistrates Court and was set to resume on October 25.

Naidoo allegedly “served” parts of Laudium with Mandrax from 2001 until his arrest in 2004. He allegedly pushed drugs valued at R1.5 million a day. He paid cash for all his properties despite being unemployed.

Naidoo allegedly tried to conceal his wealth by using a trust. He also registered properties in the names of family members.

“The court found that the evidence against Naidoo was ‘overwhelming’ that he used his properties to facilitate the crime and procured his properties by means of his unlawful activities.”

Mhaga said organised crime had become “increasingly difficult” to fight because criminals used their resources to distance themselves from their activities and “mask the origins of their assets”.

“However, by means of asset forfeiture, the ill-gotten gains of drug kingpins are seized.”

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