Companies accused with exporting 'chopped' car parts sanctioned
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DURBAN - THE hood was lifted on how some stolen vehicles were “chopped” and shipped abroad when two Durban businesses were caught red-handed wheeling and dealing in stolen cars and parts.
Both companies, as juristic persons, admitted guilt and entered into a Section 105 plea agreement with the State at the Durban Regional Court recently.
South X South 29 (PTY) LTD and Gounden and Gounden CC, trading as Wind Motors, were the accused in the matter.
South X South was established in 2018 and specialised in exports, while Wind Motors is well-known in the Durban area for trading in second-hand parts as well as building and modifying cars.
Sanjeevarian (Sanj) Gounden, in his capacity as director of South X South and member of Gounden and Gounden CC, was the authorised person who represented both businesses in the plea and sentence agreement with the State.
The State’s prosecution consisted of Vishalan Moodley and advocate Kuveshni Pillay.
Investigation into the business practices of the family-run companies were accelerated after a container laden with vehicle parts, and destined for Mauritius, was seized at the Durban Harbour in December 2018.
Wrapped chopped parts found during the 2018 raid at the port were believed to have been sourced cheaply from syndicates and others dealing in stolen and hijacked vehicles.
The State asserted that the accused, having noticed a gap in the market, used this method of exporting de-constructed vehicles to circumvent the cost of shipping fully assembled cars.
South X South was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property.
The first count is to do with South X South’s unlawful acquisition and possession of stolen property (parts), which were not bought at a public sale.
It was established that the wrapped parts were destined for a company in Mauritius, but were first received and packaged at Wind Motors’ premises in Parlock before the attempt to ship them.
On December 8, 2018, the container loaded with the parts in question was stopped at the harbour.
The stolen items included an array of parts from vehicles like an Audi, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes Benz ML, Ford Ranger, Toyota double-cab and Toyota Fortuner.
A stolen Hyundai Accent was the subject of the second count of receiving stolen property against South X South.
When the company received the vehicle in October 2018 they noted the licence plate details did not correspond with the information on the car’s licence disk, but no questions were asked about the discrepancy or how it was sourced.
The harbour raid led investigators to Wind Motor’s premises. The car was stolen from a vehicle dealership in Sherwood in 2017.
Wind Motors were also charged for not having the required certification from the Road Traffic Management Corporation to build and modify motor vehicles.
The accused pleaded guilty to the charges, accepted their actions were unlawful, expressed remorse and promised all their future business dealings would conform with the law.
On the first two counts, South X South received fines totalling R280000, half of which is suspended for five years, provided the company doesn’t commit the same offences in that period.
The sentence agreement on the third count was a R10000 fine.
Magistrate Prithi Bodha Khedun presided over the matter which was concluded on April 30.