Prisoner Jermaine Prim allegedly used a cellphone fitted with an identity manipulating app to pose as former National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams to dupe prosecutors to drop car theft charges against him.

Johannesburg - The prisoner accused of using a cellphone fitted with voice and identity manipulating technology to impersonate former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams while in custody is now facing a fresh charge of motor vehicle fraud.

Jermaine Prim is said to have corroborated with Keenen Bennet to defraud a Johannesburg woman of R20 000, which was used to pay Prim's lawyers. The two appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Crime Court on Tuesday on charges of fraud and money laundering.

In court papers, the State accused the two of hatching a plan in January to steal from Sheeta Rama Nana, who had wanted to buy a Mercedes-Benz from Shiraz Auto dealership. However, Shiraz Auto could not provide her with the vehicle with the type of interior design she ordered.

It's alleged that two days later, Nana received a call from Bennet, who posed as an agent for Mercedes-Benz. Using the fictitious name of Shane Peters, Bennet promised to get Nana the vehicle with her specifications but she needed to pay a R20 000 deposit into a supposed Mercedes-Benz bank account that was held by Capitec Bank.

“She paid the amount into the account of accused 2 (Bennet) as a result of the misrepresentation made to her. The R20 000 was subsequently laundered through another account and later utilised to pay an attorney representing accused 1 (Prim) in a court case in Joburg. Nana suffered actual financial loss while Mercedes-Benz SA suffered reputational damage as result of the acts of the accused,” the charge sheet said.

Senior prosecutor Richard Chabalala asked magistrate Brian Nemavhidi to postpone the matter to December to allow time for the defence to get instructions from the accused.

Prim, who is facing other cases for crimes he allegedly committed while in prison, attended the proceedings under heavy security guard. No member of the public, including his family, was allowed to get close to him. He was chained at both feet and hands. He was under close security watch throughout the proceedings.

In July, Prim appeared at the Johannesburg Regional Court for contravening section 41(5) of the NPA Act, fraud, obstruction of justice and impersonating an SAPS member. He allegedly committed these crimes while incarcerated at the Free State's Mangaung Correctional Centre last year.

According to the State, he used a spoofing mobile app to pretend to be Abrahams and then contacted prosecutors on the West Rand, instructing them to withdraw charges against him. At the time, he, and three other accused, were detained for being linked to the so-called Showroom Gang notorious for stealing people's cars using identity theft technology. At the time, he told the court it would be difficult to consult with a legal representative as he had been moved 18 times between various prisons around the country in four months since March. 


The Star