Sleuth confirms interest in gun shop
Johannesburg - A private investigator has come forward to say his company was also aware of investigations into Dave Sheer Guns, which have been continuing for a number of years.
Chad Thomas, an independent organised crime investigator from IRS Forensic Investigations, said he had been aware of enquiries into employees of Dave Sheer Guns conducted by senior investigators.
He said they were from several elite units, including Crimes Against the State, the Anti-Corruption Unit, the military police, the national conventional arms control committee and defence intelligence.
The Star has exposed an investigation into the Joburg gun shop conducted by the Hawks and forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan.
Two employees - director Gareth de Nysschen and general manager Efthimios Demis Karamitsos - were arrested by the military police last week on charges of conspiracy to deal in stolen property and dealing in stolen property.
Prosecutor Mienke Erasmus mentioned in court that she had been contacted by senior police officers in the Hawks, the Anti-Corruption Unit and Crimes Against the State to say they were also investigating De Nysschen. She used this as one of the reasons for the postponement in the director’s bail application which will now take place on Friday.
Thomas said investigators were exploring:
* Whether gun licences were awarded to self-confessed murderers and other controversial figures allegedly linked to organised crime.
* The alleged storage of weapons for controversial arms dealer Johan Erasmus.
* The alleged purchase of ammunition stolen from the military.
* The alleged collusion between Dave Sheer staff and members of the Central Firearms Registry to assist or speed up the firearm licensing process.
* Alleged contraventions of the National Conventional Arms Control Act, 2002, and the Regulation of Foreign Assistance Military Act, 1998.
Thomas said there had also been questions asked about the relationship between employees of Dave Sheer Guns and convicted Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah. Okah mentioned in an affidavit placed before court that he spoke to an employee at Dave Sheer Guns regarding the export of weapons to Nigeria.
Thomas said further: “It is the role of the police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate serious allegations such as those made about Dave Sheer Guns. To blame a journalist for reporting on such a high-profile story is ridiculous. Even more bizarre is laying the blame of the investigation at the feet of Paul O’Sullivan. I am also an independent investigator. We have no special hold over state law enforcement agencies and we cannot influence them in the execution of their duties.”
Erasmus said there was no substance to investigations against him. He said the national conventional arms control committee had been informed timeously and had approved the storage of weapons at Dave Sheer Guns.
The weapons were three light machineguns and two submachineguns which were moved from the special forces’ supply chain unit to Dave Sheer Guns.
Dave Sheer Guns’ attorney, Martin Hood, said they would “no longer comment on vague, unsubstantiated and hearsay allegations for which our client has not been formally charged”.
He said they had no faith in the reporter’s ability or willingness to report fairly and accurately.