Cash seized in dagga raid to be kept safe

2015-06-30 09:58

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THE Pietermaritzburg High Court has ordered the preservation of R140 000 cash seized when police raided a farm in Cato Ridge where dagga was being cultivated in July 2014.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit is applying for the money to be forfeited to the state in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca), and anyone with an interest who wants to oppose the forfeiture has been invited to do so.

Senior National Prosecuting Authority official Knorx Molelle and Captain Collette Bruwer (from the kwaDukuza Task Team responsible for the raid), said there is good reason to suspect the cash was illegally obtained through sale of dagga.

As illegal proceeds of crime it qualifies to be declared forfeited to the state in terms of Poca, which is aimed, among other things, at removing the incentive to commit crime, and to deter people from allowing their property to be used for crime.

Bruwer said the cash was seized when the police raided Dunhill farm in the Killarney Valley, which was being leased by Gareth Kernick, on July 17 last year. Bruwer said Kernick was present, along with his girlfriend, Frances van Zyl, and two friends, Riaan du Preez and Peter Carl le Roux.

Police discovered 242 cannabis (dagga) plants being cultivated in pots and containers, and a large quantity of harvested and dried dagga in bags and bottles, as well as an oval shaped dish containing cannabis oil.

According to Bruwer, when asked where the money from the sale of the dagga was kept, Van Zyl was the person who voluntarily led police to a shed. There Kernick moved a stack of wooden boards to reveal a blue safe, inside which police found 14 bundles of cash totalling R140 000, three passports, 100 Jamaican dollars, and a silver Indonesian coin.

Bruwer said it was safer for the cash seized by police to be kept in the custody and control of a court-appointed curator, than for it to remain in the police station exhibits room.

It was unfortunately a “stark reality” that cash does go missing from police stations, both as a result of theft by “insiders” and burglars.

The Witness has previously reported on another raid which occurred in the same area in December last year, when police reported having found 365 dagga plants growing in plantations around three farmhouses in Killarney Valley

Read more on:    pietermartizburg  |  court

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