15/01/2015. Vehicles driving past the e-toll gantry on the N1. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Pretoria - An employee of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has appeared briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on 1907 fraud charges after he allegedly drove between Pretoria and Johannesburg using false number plates for about 10 months in an alleged bid to dodge paying e-toll fees.

The bulk of the charges against Stoyen Stoychev relate to using false number plates while driving on the N1 and each time he drove through a gantry, counted as one charge.

It appeared from the charge sheet that he owed Sanral about R15 000 in toll fees.

This is said to be the first case of this nature before the court since e-tolls were implemented in Gauteng in 2013.

From 3 December 2013 up to 2 October 2 last year, when he was arrested, Stoychev allegedly used the falsified number plates, in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

While he drove a white Hyundai i30 hatchback, one of the number plates he used belonged to the owner of a Ford Bantam bakkie - a certain BN Bunting.

SANRAL PREJUDICED

The Gauteng registration number he used (and which belonged to Bunting) started with CF, but it is claimed that Stoychev at times altered the C into an O.

According to the charge sheet, the number plate starting with “OF” did not exist on the national traffic information system (e-Natis), while the number starting with the CF was registered to Bunting.

The State said Stoychev, as an e-toll user, was required to pay for every gantry he crossed and thus using a falsified number plate resulted in fraud.

It was said that he used these number plates to evade the liability of paying e-tolls, which prejudiced Sanral.

Other charges include that he allegedly drove his vehicle while not displaying a number plate on the back of his car.

According to the national road traffic regulations, number plates must be attached to a vehicle in such a manner that they are not easily detachable.

Each letter and figure must also be clearly legible and visible.

Stoychev has not yet pleaded to the charges and the case was postponed to 25 February.

Pretoria News