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Durban - The case against a man charged with stealing shipping containers was postponed on Friday because the case documents were stolen from the prosecutor in an armed robbery.
Prosecutor Yuben Archary said: “The docket was taken from me in an armed robbery last night.”
Magistrate Sharon Marks postponed Yusuf Omarjee's case to April 12 to allow Archary to reconstruct the case file.
Another case involving four others also had to be postponed to allow Archary to reconstruct the case file.
Omarjee faces charges of theft, fraud and money-laundering.
He is out on bail of R10 000.
Omarjee's lawyer Ahmed Amod told the court that it was in fact his client who had complained that containers were being stolen from his depot near Durban harbour's Maydon Wharf.
He said there was an application still pending before the Durban High Court to have the investigating officer removed.
Police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge said at the time of Omarjee's arrest that the police's organised crime unit began its investigation in June 2012, when 14 stolen containers were found at a property in Queensburgh, Durban.
The owners of the property apparently bought the containers for R200 000 - a fraction of their value - from the storage company that Omarjee owned.
Mdunge said foreign shipping companies stored empty containers at the company in Maydon Wharf, but often found that some had gone missing.
He said shipping companies had reported losses in excess of R100 million.
Amod told the court that he had been told that investigations had been finalised, but he had not received a copy of the docket, despite repeated requests, prior to Archary being robbed. - Sapa