Game reserve employee pleads guilty to R5.2m theft

2015-10-15 17:41


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Nelspruit - A Londolozi employee accused of stealing more than R200 000 in cash and transferring more than R5m from the world-famous game reserve's bank account has pleaded guilty.

Wade Morgan Williams, 30, pleaded guilty to theft, vehicle theft, gun pointing and kidnapping when he appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday. The case has been postponed for a month.

His Legal Aid lawyer Cebo Vilakazi presented his plea statement to the court.

State prosecutor Isbet Erwee told the court the state was waiting for social workers to compile a pre-sentencing report on the accused's personal circumstances.

Erwee had earlier placed on record that Williams had been planning the heist for months, presenting the court with a summary of events that resulted in his arrest on April 4.

Williams was accused of kidnapping a co-worker Dave Dampier, tying him up and taking him into nearby bushes and threatening him at gunpoint.

The court heard Williams accessed Londolozi's bank accounts, stealing more than R5m as well as the reserve’s Discovery 4. He did not know the vehicle had a tracking device.

Erwee said the accused tried suffocating his victim with a plastic bag and tried breaking his neck.

"He stuffed the man into the Discovery 4 and later dropped him next to the road on his way to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

"It was presumed he wanted to flee to Kenya, but when he reached the airport, he couldn’t book a flight ticket to his destination," she said.

Erwee said the vehicle was tracked and Williams arrested while driving on the Riverside R40 route in Mbombela. Police confiscated cash, a computer and the vehicle in his possession.

Williams was denied bail and has been in custody since his arrest.

"I am still waiting for the social worker's pre-sentencing reports which would be forwarded to me once completed," Erwee said.

Magistrate Andre Geldenhuys postponed the case to November 10 for the pre-sentencing report and sentencing.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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