Booze ‘missing’ after lockdown arrests

2020-04-24 14:00
Cape Town Metro Police officers confiscated R500 000 worth of alcohol in Dunoon on Friday during lockdown enforcement operations.

Cape Town Metro Police officers confiscated R500 000 worth of alcohol in Dunoon on Friday during lockdown enforcement operations.

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Two men who ended up on the wrong side of the law claim they were assaulted by police, and R30 000 worth of their booze is missing as well as R11 500 cash.

Lushalen Naicker and Deon Pillay were granted R1 000 bail each by the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court this week for contravening the lockdown regulations.

Their attorney Surendra Singh has written to the Mountain Rise police station and the minister of Police to claim damages.

Naicker is claiming R200 000 after three of his ribs were fractured and Pillay, R120 000 for the bruises and blunt trauma injuries he sustained.

Shane Pillay, the manager of the bottle store they work for who was not present at the time, is claiming R41 500 for the missing stock and money.

Their version is that they received information that the CBD bottle store was going to be broken into, so they went there to remove the stock for safekeeping.

Police doing their duties pounced on the Nissan bakkie transporting the booze in Khan Road. When police found the alcohol in the back of the vehicle, they allegedly assaulted Naicker and Pillay.

The letter said that on April 18, at about 3 pm, the vehicle was stopped by police officers from the dog unit travelling in an unmarked kombi. However, there were also other police vehicles present.

The alcohol was confiscated by the police and both men were arrested. The vehicle was also seized and the cash.

The police have compiled an inventory of all the alcohol that was confiscated and it allegedly does not tally with the inventory the men took of what was taken.

Turns out that some alcohol is missing; one 750 ml bottle of JW Gold, nine 750 ml bottles of 10-year-old KWV brandy, one case of 750 ml Strawberry Lips, two cases of 750 ml Richelieu brandy, 15 750 ml bottles of Cruze Vodka, two 750 ml bottles of Fish Eagle; nine 750 ml bottles of Spice Gold, three 750 ml bottles of Tanqueray, three 750 ml bottles of other gin and a 750 ml bottle of Bellgravia.

“We require an explanation from yourselves as to the whereabouts of this alcohol,” says the letter.

It adds that Naicker was unlawfully assaulted and his injuries are severe. Despite calling for medical attention from the time of his arrest until his release on bail on April 20, he was not attended to medically. His human rights were allegedly flagrantly violated.

In an e-mail sent to the attorney, Mountain Rise police station commander, Boxer Pillay, said “please inform your client to register a criminal case for the alleged assault and missing alcohol. Once the case is registered, the matter will be thoroughly investigated,”

In addition, a letter was also sent to the station for the return of the Nissan bakkie.

Of this, Pillay said in an e-mail that any person who contravenes the regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, shall be committing an offence and will be prosecuted as a result of such a contravention. “Your client was arrested and the vehicle was seized in terms of regulation (11 B).”

Pillay added that the case docket has been sent to the court and his office is awaiting a directive with regard to the vehicle in question.

Contacted for comment, Pillay added that in addition to what he said in the e-mails, “we will not tolerate any unlawful actions by police during Covid-19”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  alcohol
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