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Durban - Bruce Galloway, the “abducted” businessman, on Staurday refused to take a lie detector test which would quell mounting public suspicion that his two-day disappearance was a ruse.
Galloway, 53, went missing two weeks ago in an apparent hijacking and was found days later on a ledge in the Kloof Gorge, less than 5km from his Intengu Road home.
He claimed to have been bound and flung from the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve viewpoint after he refused to divulge his ATM pin numbers to his captors who had held him at gunpoint when they snatched him from his car as he left his house on the morning of July 23.
The disappearance, and the apparently motiveless attempt on his life, prompted a massive search by police and private investigators.
His family posted an appeal for information on YouTube, which went viral.
Last week Galloway, who has yet to be discharged from Hillcrest Private Hospital after undergoing back surgery, gave a statement to police.
Now private investigator Brad Nathanson, who was hired by Galloway’s family in the wake of his disappearance, said that in his professional opinion, he questioned the circumstances of his “kidnapping” as outlined in his official statement.
Nathanson said that media and public interest in the case peaked when Galloway was found.
“Many people, who had limited knowledge of the circumstances, expressed their doubt that this was a legitimate case of kidnapping and attempted murder and compared Galloway to Leon van Rensburg (who had engineered his own hoax hijacking late last year).
“The public interest and outcry was considerable, and this wave of attention was just one of the tools we had intended on using to find him (Galloway) while he was missing. Now that he has been found, the interest continues to mount because so many people think he is lying,” he said.
“The circumstances in which he was accosted and kidnapped, as he depicts in his sworn statement to police, are questionable and I have never experienced a series of events as he claims they happened,” Nathanson added.
“In my experience, this statement contains a string of unlikely actions and seems to have been conjured up, like the drinking of his own urine and gathering tufts of grass to make a pillow while he was on the ledge. That is why I suggested to the family that he take a lie detector test to finally put the matter to rest.
“His son Wayne told me that he had no problem with taking a polygraph in principle, but declined without seeing questions in writing ahead of time,” the investigator said.
“I have no idea why, if Mr Galloway has nothing to hide, he wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to take a polygraph test,” said Nathanson.
Nathanson said he also had video footage, captured by a Blue Security camera, of a man meeting Galloway’s description walking along Springdale Road towards Kloof Gorge 20 minutes after he claims to have been abducted.
“The footage does not show anyone else. The man appears to cover his face when he notices the roadside camera and quickly moves to the other side of the road,” he said.
Nathanson said that the disappearance of Galloway had prompted emotional investment from people who had never met him before and said he had faced a barrage of queries from the press.
“My Facebook page and website were inundated with messages of prayer and support. When doubt is cast on the legitimacy of the event, these people have a right to know the truth. If this whole thing was in fact a ruse, I am sure people will feel cheated,” he said.
It is understood that Galloway, the former chairman of the SA Sugarcane Growers’ Association, is deep in debt. A lawyer’s letter of demand calling for the release of R1.5m arrived the day before he disappeared.
Bruce Galloway on Saturday ight refused to comment when contacted by the Sunday Tribune.
“The media has made all sorts of allegations and I am not making any comment. I have taken advice on this and dealing with the investigating officer,” he said.
All allegations were put to Galloway and he could not be drawn to comment further.
Investigating Officer Chippie van den Hefer appeared to side with Galloway and maintains that the alleged kidnapping was as a result of an alleged armed robbery gone awry, despite the robbers never making an attempt to get inside the house.
Enforce head of investigations Nico Potgieter, whose team had been hired by Spar, said that he had not seen Galloway’s statement to the police and declined to comment.