SA man ‘sold conflict arms’
Johannesburg - A director of a Joburg gun shop was allegedly involved in importing military weapons for “special forces” and then selling them to countries in conflict.
This emerged in a state affidavit placed before the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
In the bail application of Gareth De Nysschen, a director at Dave Sheer Guns, the State indicated that the business had been investigated by military intelligence for two years.
De Nysschen was arrested last week at OR Tambo airport, along with general manager Efthimios Demis Karamitsos, by the military police for allegedly dealing in stolen military ammunition.
Investigating officer Stella Ngwenya’s affidavit was placed before court as an exhibit.
In the affidavit she stated that the investigations reveal the alleged illegal import of “weapons of mass destruction like the Gatling gun and 40mm rockets”.
These were brought into South Africa along with conventional weapons under the “guise” of a contract with the special forces.
“Under the auspices of a tender (sic) awarded to a business NGAM (New Generation Arms Management), weapons were illegally brought into the country with a legal consignment, and inter alia… never delivered to the special forces,” the affidavit states. “It was subsequently shipped to Syria, Sudan Republic of Chimbote and Kenia (sic).”
The affidavit said quantities of these weapons were seized at the premises of Dave Sheer CC.
Johan Erasmus, a director at NGAM - named in the affidavit as the importer of the arms - told The Star that the allegations were false.
“Everything was brought into the country legally and nothing was exported. They were for the special forces,” Erasmus said. He said an agent for the state security agency was attempting to have him closed down and he had a separate court case under way concerning the matter.
Erasmus said he would lay charges for slander.
Ngwenya’s affidavit also states that the anti-corruption unit was investigating high-ranking officials within the police for corruption relating to permits unlawfully issued to Dave Sheer CC for the importing/exporting of arms and ammunition.
The affidavit also states that the Directorate of Priority Crimes is also investigating the same firm for unlawfully importing fully automatic firearms.
It said the directorate was aware that the Central Firearms Registry was in the process of rescinding all trading/firearms licences issued to Dave Sheer CC and that the business would not be in a position to trade at all.
Prosecutor Mienke Erasmus said as part of her reason for opposing bail that De Nysschen had on four different occasions provided an incorrect address.
De Nysschen said he lived at an apartment in Bedfordview, but the investigating officer found this apartment to be empty and for sale.
The accused’s brother arrived and took her to another apartment, which according to the state’s affidavit was furnished but was dusty and appeared unoccupied. The State confirmed that De Nysschen in fact lived in Ruimsig.
The prosecutor said De Nysschen had also lied about when he booked his airline ticket to the US.
In his affidavit the accused said he had booked his ticket three weeks ago, but the ticket was only booked a week before.
“Upon his arrest the applicant informed the arresting officer that he was on his way to Las Vegas and would have flown from there to Mexico (with whom SA has no extradition treaty),” Ngwenya said in her affidavit.
Erasmus also said he lied about being a member of Dave Sheer CC when his business trust was in fact the member.
Finally she alleged that De Nysschen lied about not knowing the witnesses in the case.
The defence accused Erasmus of bringing unrelated matters before the court and that the charges related to the selling of military ammunition.
Attorney Annelene van den Heever said her client had not been charged for any of the other matters under investigation and that he should not have to answer to them during the bail application.
Van den Heever said there were a lot of “curiosities” in Ngwenya’s statement, as well as that of state witness Freddie Labuschagne, who said he had sold the ammunition to Dave Sheer Guns.
She said De Nysschen had made an innocent mistake in giving the wrong address and that he did in fact stay at apartment 133. She also said he had simply forgotten when he had had booked his airplane ticket.
Van den Heever said De Nysschen had made a deal with Dave Sheer to buy his 51 percent shares in the business for R21 million over five years.
She asked why he would do this only to try and flee the country.
Magistrate Syfred Mati postponed judgment until Tuesday.