Prosecutor warns of Gauteng truck syndicate

2016-05-19 21:02
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Mbombela - An Mpumalanga State prosecutor on Thursday warned about a Gauteng-based syndicate that hires unsuspecting drivers to smuggle stolen trucks into Mozambique.

“Such cases are prevalent in this court and we deal with them on a weekly basis,” Michael Mazibuko said during the sentencing of Karimo Stathu, 32, in the Nelspruit Regional Court.

Sthathu was arrested at the Lebombo Border Post on January 9 while trying to smuggle a Hino truck worth R1.2m to Maputo.

The syndicate stole the truck in an armed robbery the previous day.

“In most of the cases, the trucks were being driven by innocent drivers to be smuggled through the border into neighbouring Mozambique,” Mazibuko said.

Stathu, from Mbombela, pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of stolen property. In a statement read by his lawyer Rudolf Smith, Stathu said a man in Mbombela hired him on January 9 after claiming his other driver was stuck.

“When police arrested me at the border, I pointed out the person who hired me, but they did not arrest him,” he said.

Magistrate Shelly Msibi said those behind such operations often did not get caught. She said the victims failed to make sure that those they were working for were the rightful owners of the trucks

She sentenced him to five years' imprisonment suspended for five years, provided he was not convicted of a similar offence in that time.

On Monday, a Gauteng taxi driver who pleaded guilty to driving a stolen Hino truck worth R600 000 into Mozambique, asked to pay his R10 000 fine in instalments.

Gilbert Mashaba, 39, was arrested at the Lebombo border post in Mpumalanga on March 29. He pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of stolen property when he appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Monday.

In his confession statement, he said he was hired by a man called Bantu at the Shawela taxi rank, given the truck’s keys and told to drive it to Maputo.

He was fined R10 000 or three years’ imprisonment, plus a further three years’ imprisonment suspended for five years.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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