The State alleges that a BMW X6 belonging to Gerber, which was insured for R1.3 million, was reported as stolen, while it was actually handed over to an accomplice to drive over the border.
THE TRIAL of well-known Kimberley businessman, Elias “Sakkie” Gerber and his co-accused, Floyd Teu, who are facing charges of money laundering, fraud and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, got under way in the Kimberley Regional Court yesterday.
The State alleges that a vehicle belonging to Gerber, a BMW X6, which was insured for R1.3 million, was reported as being stolen in Pretoria, while it was actually handed over to an accomplice to drive over the Lebombo border post between South Africa and Mozambique to be sold or disposed of in a foreign country.
The vehicle was apparently reported as stolen to the police and Gerber’s insurance company, Mutual & Federal, paid a settlement on the claim.
Both Gerber and Teu have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
According to the testimony of the Section 204 witness (State witness), Crisenga Fortuin, she and a man (referred to as Tony) drove a BMW X6, with the same registration number as the alleged stolen vehicle of Gerber, across the Mozambican border in October 2011.
She said that the vehicle was later sold in Tanzania.
Fortuin stated that she was introduced to Tony by a friend named Ford in Sandton in Johannesburg. “I met Tony through a friend and later learned that it was not his real name. We had a few drinks in Sandton. After we had met, Tony come to my place occasionally.
“One day he asked if I had a passport. When I confirmed that I did have a passport, he told me that he needed drivers to take cars to different countries. I told him that I could not render this service for free. I also asked why he could not do this himself. He said that he only needed people to take the cars across the border and that everything was above board and there was nothing illegal.
“He told me he would pay me R9 000 to take a car to Mozambique,” said Fortuin.
She said that Tony had brought the BMW X6 to her house after she had agreed to the arrangement.
“I met Tony in Melrose Arch on October 7, 2011. He asked if my passport was still valid as there was a possibility that I would have to leave the next day. He said I would have to drive the BMW X6.
“On October 12, 2011 he again came to my house and left the BMW X6 with me. I suspected he wanted to see whether I was comfortable driving the car.
“Tony said I had to pick him up in Melrose Arch. He had all his bags with him and we drove to Maputo.”
Fortuin said that Tony told her that he would cross the border on foot and would meet her on the other side.
“Tony told me not to worry and said he would not take me somewhere where I could get hurt. I was a bit shocked but he told me all the documents were in an envelope in the side of the door. He then got out of the car and I proceeded to the border.”
Fortuin said that she presented the documents, which included the registration documents of the car, an identity document and an affidavit stating that she was the designated driver of the car.
She said that the affidavit, as well as the registration papers, had Gerber’s name on them.
Fortuin said that she managed to cross the border into Mozambique without any problems and Tony later met her on the other side.
She said that while on their way to Maputo, they picked up another man. The man and Tony left her at a market but later returned in the car, saying there had been a change in plans and they had to leave for Tanzania.
Fortuin said that they again left in the BMW X6 but were stopped numerous times by the authorities. “We were stopped and searched and authorities requested our documents,”
She said that they did, however, manage to cross into Tanzania.
“I was booked into a lodge in Dar es Salaam and Tony again said that he would return later. Tony did return later and he gave me $2 000 and said it was time to go home. The BMW X6 was no longer with him. We left on different flights to South Africa.”
Fortuin also told the court that the BMW X6 was not the only vehicle she had taken across the border.
“I also crossed the border with a BMW X5. I did not see the BMW X6 again after Tony had sold it,” she said.
Fortuin said that she had later revealed the details of the operation to the police after she was arrested for driving a stolen Hyundai Atos.
“The police told me that they knew about me and that I crossed borders with cars. My house was searched but they did not find anything except the stolen Hyundai. The police said I should come clean and tell my side of the story,” said Fortuin.
The trial continues today.