Six convicted of R100m airport heist

2012-07-11 19:30

Johannesburg -Six men were convicted on Wednesday of the R100m heist at OR Tambo International Airport in 2006, Eyewitness News reported.

Judge Nico Coetzee found Fox Sithole, Eddie Ubisi and Bongani Ronny Mbuyisa guilty of attempted robbery, according to the radio station.

Ananias Nefumembe and Thokozani Ziqubu were convicted of robbery and Uakareraije Maunda was found guilty of being an accessory.

Eyewitness News reported that Cecil Arendse was acquitted of all charges. Another four accused had died since the heist.

The alleged mastermind of the heist, Christopher Billings, was arrested on Wednesday when he failed to arrive in court for the judgment.

His mother told the court he was stuck in a roadblock. A warrant of arrest was issued, leading to his arrest.

There were 50 postponements in the six-year trial.

In March 2006, gunmen held up guards at the airport gates while others armed with AK-47 assault rifles held up guards and police at an SA Airways aircraft and helped themselves to bags of currency flown in from Britain.

Other members of the gang held up guards at one of the gates. All of the men fled, no shots were fired and no one was injured.

  • keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-11 19:47

    Tell us what happened to the doug ? Rubel ? Dinheiro? Crown ?

      fussed.anderson - 2012-07-11 20:53

      Looks like news24 gets it news from the radio news and then reports it in the paper

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-07-11 21:31

      As I recall, some of those that are dead, died from causes that were not natural !

      niel.phillips.7 - 2012-07-12 07:49

      who is "doug"....u dof or something?

  • Tommo - 2012-07-11 19:50

    Justice has been done. Now find the money and send them to jail

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-11 20:38

      What money idiot? leave them alone they are paying for their crime so they deserve the Dinheiro

      Tommo - 2012-07-11 22:10

      @Keith. Who you calling idiot you fool...?

  • mphozana.manfred - 2012-07-11 19:52

    Gud, n nw, wheres da money?

      Irene - 2012-07-11 19:55

      Same place as where you learnt to spell. Atrocious!

      Thato Okonkwo Fakudze - 2012-07-11 20:07

      We need that money ASAP, so we can teach some people basic spelling...

      Thato Okonkwo Fakudze - 2012-07-11 20:12

      You out of line dude

      mphozana.manfred - 2012-07-11 20:59

      No u dont nid da mani 4 dat, u nid it 4 a bus fare 2 lagos.

  • Melusi - 2012-07-11 19:55

    The white man was acquitted!!!

      Emily-Jane Elson - 2012-07-11 20:07

      P.S. He's colored!! Stupids

      Squeegee - 2012-07-11 20:15

      Dear Emily - please don't feed the Trolls.

      Thato Okonkwo Fakudze - 2012-07-11 20:25

      Race again and again

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-11 20:36

      Good its his luck but wait a minuye!! The underworld should investigate him did he not perhaps play to give the cops all info??

      karl.vanrooyen - 2012-07-11 20:40

      No he's a non white mk veteran

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-07-11 22:51

      Arendse is not white, and if he was what difference would it make. Billings sounds white and he WAS arrested. Read properly. It doesn't matter what colour you are, if you're a thief colour makes little difference and you should get the sentence you deserve.

      francois.greeff.98 - 2012-07-12 07:01

      I recently saw a bumper sticker that said "The black man is always guilty". The car was driven by a black gentleman so the statement must be true.

  • Thato Okonkwo Fakudze - 2012-07-11 20:02

    These guys really deserve the money...

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-11 20:30

      If the government officials can get away with millions and billions why not them without firing a single shot.Good job done boys

      mphozana.manfred - 2012-07-11 20:54

      Sure they are kwerekweres

      Ntuthuko M Simelane - 2012-07-12 11:41

      Mphozana,thats an ugly term to call our African brothers who originate in Africa.

  • Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-11 20:04

    From what I remember, most of it was recovered. It was in different currencies and denominations.

  • thoka.mphoka - 2012-07-11 20:07

    One movie line, where there is serious crime look for a white man. Look at Jacky Selebi and Agliotti movie.

      richard.blesovsky - 2012-07-11 20:32

      What's your point? Selebi is black.... This is if I have deciphered your ridiculous English properly!!

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-07-11 22:55

      thoka that goes without saying, as criminal whites are extremely clever especially Agliotti. If Selebi was greedy then that's his problem, he should have used the little brains he has and stayed away from criminals like Kebble and Agliotti !

  • Emily-Jane Elson - 2012-07-11 20:11

    Seven suspects have been added since an original 10 were arrested over one of the country's biggest and most brazen robberies. On March 25 at least 25 heavily armed robbers stripped an SAA cargo plane of R74-million in foreign currency at Johannesburg International Airport without firing a single shot. The robbers simply boarded the plane, demanded the money and made off with it. So far, 17 suspects have been rounded up. One was shot dead during his arrest. Of the R74-million taken, only R6-million has been recovered from some of the suspects arrested in May. It is not known whether more money was recovered later. On May 25, the recovered money and other exhibits amounting to R40-million were stolen from a walk-in safe at the offices of the Benoni branch of Serious and Violent Crime Unit. Five suspects, among them three policemen, were arrested over their suspected involvement in the theft of this money. They were all denied bail in the Benoni regional court two weeks ago. One of the policemen arrested over the Benoni robbery, Inspector Serious Mthembi, was part of the team investigating the airport robbery. The airport heist accused, all facing charges of armed robbery, are: Themba Magwaza, 24, from Malvern, Vusi Khumalo, 31, from Yeoville, Shaun Sobroman, 32, from Kempton Park, Nazir Ismail, 38, from Durban, Rookiya Ibrahim from Houghton, Themba Phutsitsi, 38, from Soweto, Annanius Nopfumba, 38, from Tembisa, Danisa Tshuma and Bheki Khumalo (deceased) from Turffontein, Magdalene Moosa, 24, from Durban, Rooshdee and Shameed Rudolph from Cape Town, Gakotoka Jindunda and Gakoreraije Maunda from Namibia, Tebogo Nhlapo, 30, from Katlehong, Fox Sithole, 31, from Vosloorus and Christopher Billings, 31, of Johannesburg. The Rudolph brothers are both businessmen, and Shameed was a practising attorney in Cape Town. Ibrahim holds an honours degree in management studies while Nopfumba and Tshuma were security officers. Jindunda and Maunda cannot read or write, do not understand English or Afrikaans and speak only Herero. Jindunda is an ex-Koevoet member and fought against Swapo in Namibia. He also fought against Unita forces in Angola as a mercenary. Regardless of their profiles, police said this was a group that had worked together successfully for over three years. It emerged in court that the group has been investigated for robberies which took place at the airport in 2004 and 2005. Inspector Peter Mbonani, of the Serious and Violent Crime Unit in Benoni, said in court that some of the suspects were in Angola and Nigeria. He did not say how many of the eight remaining suspects were in each of the countries he mentioned. Mbonani, who was giving evidence in the bail application of the first nine suspects in the Kempton Park regional court, said the police had information about continuing telephonic contact between some of the accused and the suspects who had fled the country. Three of the accused were duty managers at the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and two others were security personnel at the airport. Mbonani was not forthcoming on how the heist was carried out. What Mbonani could share about the heist was that as soon as the aircraft from London touched ground, Magdalena Moonsamy, who was operations controller at Acsa, directed the aircraft away from where it had been scheduled to stop. "She called the plane to a place away from security cameras, next to where the robbers made an exit," he said. This was denied by Moonsamy in court. She said the random way in which planes were allocated parking bays at Johannesburg International Airport was to be blamed for the heist. She said that often planes were allocated parking bays hours before they landed. This, explained Moonsamy, was due to a constantly changing schedule of landings and take-offs. If a plane was late, its original parking bay would be given to another plane. The SAA 273 plane was originally allocated bay D231, which was changed to bay D34 only moments before it landed. Mbonani said all operations controllers at the airport had privileged knowledge of the kind of cargo a particular plane carried. He said the fact that the plane was redirected from the bay it was supposed to park at, to a new one where there were no surveillance cameras, was not the result of ad hoc placing of planes at the airport as claimed by Moonsamy. In her statement she disputed Mbonani's version that there were no surveillance cameras at bay D34. She said that, like a casino, every inch of the airport was under continuous surveillance. Moonsamy was the only suspect on whom no money was found. However, Mbonani was adamant that the young woman, who was still a trainee in operations control, was directly involved in the heist. Some R900 000 of the heist money was allegedly found on Magwaza and Khumalo near Beitbridge in Limpopo. A total of R600 000 was found at a house in Durban and R190 300 at a house in Brakpan, allegedly belonging to Sobroman. Three amounts of R480 000, R180 000 and R41 000 were found in unspecified places in Gauteng allegedly belonging to Ismail. Police said R1 194 000 was found on Ibrahim. Six different amounts of R250 000, R400 000, R150 000, R100 000, R281 000 and R28 750 were found in unspecified places in Gauteng allegedly belonging to Phutsitsi. In Venda, Limpopo, an amount of R462 000 was allegedly found on Nopfumba. And lastly in Booysens, southern Johannesburg, two amounts of R600 000 and R8 553 were allegedly found on Tshuma. Mbonani said police had obtained a copy of the serial numbers of all the notes from London, and the money recovered from the suspects arrested matched some of the numbers. The 17 suspects have been appearing separately at the Kempton Park court. The first group, from Magwaza to Moonsamy, are to appear again on July 12, while the group from Shameed Rudolph to Chris Billings were to appear on Monday. This group is awaiting decisions on bail applications.

      Melusi - 2012-07-11 20:16

      So what???????? U got time for rubbish,they stole money that deserved to be stolen!

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-11 20:33

      It should go into the books of history as it should be regarded as a historic event!!!

      Emily-Jane Elson - 2012-07-11 22:12

      Melusi.. ?? I found the article somewhere and pasted it. Some people were asking questions, thought it might help.. WTF is your problem?

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-07-11 22:58

      Thanks Emily Jane ! Info most interesting. Forgot about this case as there are so many happening !

      alain.d.thomas - 2012-07-12 11:44

      I wonder how much the cops made off with... Interesting article Emily-J

  • shihungasi.khoza - 2012-07-11 20:20

    Woow! Hmmmmmm dats wealth! Was it all recovered? They were goin to rull da streets if they were not cought lol

  • tumelo.mabua - 2012-07-11 20:58

    This would make a perfect movie ! Like Takers or Oceans 11!

  • tlhokz.bratha4life - 2012-07-11 21:36

    Go big is wat this guys didnt I wont mind goin to jail afta the crime...hardluck it didnt go

  • John Doeslough - 2012-07-11 22:23

    50 postponements???? You gotta be kidding me

  • - 2012-07-12 08:11

    wasn't the recovered money, then stolen from a police station

  • Arthur Salvado - 2012-07-12 08:15

    Well done. Now please go arrest those that still billions. Don't look to far they are in the government and their names are known. Are they to hot to handle. Ouch

  • flynn.govender - 2012-07-12 09:52

    They got charged, they got sentenced, what more do people want? Not sure if the money is recovered or will ever be recovered. I think people can either gets jail term or return the money.

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