PMB woman to forfeit all assets to the state

2015-09-23 09:53
Drug addiction from Shutterstock

Drug addiction from Shutterstock (Mukhina Viktoriia)

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PIETERMARITZBURG woman Joyce Komane will forfeit all her assets to the state after a full bench of the KZN high court ruled yesterday that they were bought with money from “drug-dealing activities”.

Judges Graham Lopes and Shyam Gyanda, and Acting Judge Venesen Naidoo yesterday dismissed Komane’s appeal against an earlier judgment by Judge Rishi Seegobin, who found that the properties were the proceeds of criminal activities and should be forfeited to the state.

He ordered that five properties in Carey Road in Pelham, two flats in Pitlochry complex in Commercial Road, a home in Marion Road, Northdale, a property in Huntley Road, Bisley, and an Audi 500 car be forfeited to the state in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The full bench agreed with Seegobin’s findings that Komane could not have paid for her assets from any legitimate source of income. The properties are registered in her name, as well as that of her mother, Gladys Makhaye, and a Sikombuzo Eugene Mbatha.

Judge Lopes said in yesterday’s reserved judgment that it was clear from evidence led that Komane had bought the assets for herself, even though some were in the name of the other two people.

“As she had no legitimate means of accumulating the income to do this, the conclusion that she paid for them from the proceeds of her drug-dealing activities is inevitable,” he said.

The judge said Komane’s advocate, Fanie Slabbert, had argued that she was prejudiced at her trial for having to prove long after purchasing her properties, that she had done so legitimately.

He had argued that it was not reasonable to expect her to have kept records of her income at that stage.

Judge Lopes said the evidence showed the only sources of money Komane had were an amount she had received from her ex-husband on the sale of a garage, income from a butchery they jointly owned, and income from a coffee shop and boutique.

The judge said, however, that Komane had made “no effort” during the trial to demonstrate what her income from these sources was. It was accepted by Judge Seegobin on a balance of probabilities that Komane had been extensively involved in drug-dealing from 1998 to 2005, and that her assets were acquired solely out of that income.

The full bench agreed with his findings.

Komane was arrested in 2005 and later faced trial, along with a woman known as Pietermaritzburg’s “drug queen”, Ramjini Chetty, and others, for racketeering and dealing in cocaine and Mandrax. She was convicted of drug-dealing, forgery and money laundering, and sentenced to 18 years in prison, but in 2010 won an acquittal on appeal to the high court.

The value of the properties was not stated in court, but Komane described them as being “worth millions”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court  |  drugs

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