Durban - Mining boss, Shamin “Chippy” Shaik, returned to his Durban home earlier this week to find his home had been burgled and a safe with diamonds, precious gemstones, jewellery and large amounts of cash in rand and dollars had been stolen.
On Wednesday night Shaik appealed to anyone who may have been offered the diamonds or gemstones to contact their nearest police station.
A man who looked after Shaik’s house while he was abroad was arrested for the alleged theft.
There had been no forced entry into the house. It is believed a duplicate key was used to unlock the kitchen door.
The thieves made off with the safe, which had been bolted to the wall in one of the bedrooms at Shaik’s Glen Ashley home. Nothing else was taken except for a kettle.
Shaik was the Department of Defence chief of acquisitions at the time of the Arms Deal.
He left for Australia in 2007.
“I am involved in the mining industry and travel regularly from Australia to Mozambique and Durban. My business deals are mostly conducted in Mozambique,” Shaik said.
He said he had returned to Durban from Australia on January 31, to find the safe missing.
He said he was in Durban to finalise a lease deal for his home.
“I was shocked... horrified when I found the safe had been stolen. I come to Durban once in three months. I have no idea when it was stolen.”
Shaik said the thieves would have had ample time to unbolt the safe.
He immediately reported the theft at the Durban North police station.
He said the diamonds and jewellery were from his personal collection.
“There was also more than 8kg of tourmaline gems valued at a lot of money. The coloured stones were cut and uncut. I collect these stones because I am fascinated by the colours.
“No stone is the same in colour. I send these stones to Sri Lanka to be cut.”
He said the tourmaline stones were shades of light pink.
He said there was no market for the stones in South Africa and they mainly sold in Europe and Asia.
A source said a large, but undisclosed amount of rand, $8 000, and diamonds and gemstones worth hundreds of thousands of rand had been stolen.
Shaik would not confirm the value of the treasures or the amount of money in the safe.
All he would say was: “I am a businessman. I am supposed to have money with me. How much is not important.
“I can tell you that it was worth a lot of money. But if I had 5 or 6kg of diamonds I would retire,” he laughed.
He appealed to anyone who may have seen the stones to contact police.
“These stones cannot be replaced. I am sure the thief/thieves will try and sell them for a pittance on the streets of Durban. They will have no idea of their real value.”
Shaik said a man who had worked for him for eight years and whom he had fired had also been implicated in the theft.
“The man who currently maintains the house was in my employ for about eight months. The previous guy was with me for eight years. He knew about the safe and my movements.”
Shaik said he believed the man had made a duplicate set of keys to his house.
According to the source it has been alleged the previous worker had struck a deal with the arrested man to gain access to the house and remove the safe.
He allegedly promised to share the spoils with him.
The source said the man had been questioned but police did not have enough evidence to arrest him.
Shaik said he trusted his workers and was upset that someone close to him was allegedly involved in the theft.
He criticised the “high” crime rate and said the high security measures at the Durban home, including armed security response, had proved to be no deterrent.
“In South Africa everyone is vulnerable to crime. It does not matter whether you live in KwaMashu or Westville, criminals are everywhere.”
Shaik said this was not the first time he had been a victim of crime.
“That aside, I have left the investigation to police and hope justice will prevail.”