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Mystery surrounds the ownership of a second-hand Rolls-Royce Ghost, which has been stored at the Sunnyside police station for more than two years after the police seized it on the N1 North, near the Phumulani toll plaza.
Not even a Pretoria High Court application by Auto Haus, which claimed to be the owner, could shed more light on where the vehicle came from, where it was going and to whom it belonged.
Auto Haus asked the court to hand the vehicle back to it, as it was the owner.
Judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa said the circumstances of this luxury vehicle were suspect. Auto Haus claimed the vehicle belonged to it, but the police on numerous occasions said they would release the vehicle to the rightful owner if authentic documentation of ownership was presented to them.
The judge said Auto Haus had failed on a balance of probabilities to prove it was the owner of the vehicle, or that it belonged to one of its officials, known by three names - Buyanga, Buyana and Sadiqi - who apparently ‘vanished’ about two weeks after the police confiscated the Rolls-Royce.
NO VALID DOCUMENTATION
They had for two years now failed to provide any valid documentation to the police that the vehicle belonged to either of them, the judge said.
The vehicle - which is worth about R4 million - was travelling from Durban harbour en route to Zimbabwe. This is according to the tow-truck operator who was towing the maroon and silver Rolls.
The vehicle was seized on 9 December 2010 by Detective Captain Solly Ngobeni, attached to the Sunnyside police station. The judge said the policeman had information from an informer about a syndicate, allegedly led by someone known as Buyanga/Buyana/Sadiqi (alleged in court papers to be a director of Auto Haus) which allegedly stole luxury vehicles from the Durban harbour.
It was said that these vehicles were then taken to Zimbabwe to be registered before being brought back to South Africa to be sold,
The judge said: “This was indeed a luxury vehicle – a Rolls-Royce. On Auto Haus’ own version, it came to South Africa through the Durban harbour and the vehicle was at some stage to be transported to Zimbabwe. When it was seized it was in fact en route to Zimbabwe.
“The driver of the truck that carried the vehicle did not have any documentation whatsoever for the Rolls-Royce.”
OFF THE RADAR
The driver explained in court papers that he fetched the vehicle from somewhere in Sandton. He was not given any documentation for it and was told he would meet someone with documents at the border gate. The policeman regarded the vehicle as “suspicious” and impounded it.
The court was told that Buyanga, who at first claimed the vehicle belonged to him, “disappeared from the radar” on December 25, 2010. The last call made from his cellphone was at OR Tambo airport soon after midnight on that date.
The judge said the applicant in this case sent a letter to the police claiming the car only two months after the seizure of the vehicle. - Pretoria News