... Sakkie Gerber faces 11 charges
A WELL-KNOWN local businessman, Esias “Sakkie” Gerber, was arrested in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on 11 charges believed to be related to vehicle theft fraud and money laundering.
He was arrested in court on Thursday, where he was appearing for an inquiry into why he had failed to report to court on June 1 in his ongoing original court case.
In the first case, Gerber, together with another local businessman, Floyd Teu, the owner of Barolong Funeral Undertakers, is facing charges of fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice involving R1.2 million.
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.
Gerber, who was out on a warning, was scheduled to appear in court on June 1 for the ongoing case but failed to do so, instead submitting a sick certificate.
Thursday’s court appearance was a hearing into whether his failure to appear was due to negligence or if it was justifiable.
Gerber meanwhile is currently in custody at the Kimberley police station, following his arrest in court on Thursday, and is expected back in the dock today in connection with the new charges.
On Thursday, Gerber appeared shocked at the new charges and stated that he did not understand what was happening.
“I understand that some people are unhappy with the buying and selling prices of their vehicles, and there are civil cases,” he said.
State advocate Isaac Mphela stated that Gerber’s arrest on Thursday was for “other cases that the police have against Gerber”.
He also indicated that one of the complainants in the new charges was Gerber’s co-accused in the ongoing case, Tau.
During Thursday’s hearing, two affidavits were presented to court regarding a sick note issued by a medical doctor working at the ZK Matthews Hospital in Barkly West, which was presented as the reason why Gerber could not appear in court on June 1.
Police officer Chantelle Booysen stated that she had affidavits from the doctor, as well as from a local motor mechanic, indicating that the doctor had written the sick note, at the request of the mechanic, for Gerber without examining him.
“According to the doctor’s affidavit, he received a phone call on Wednesday, May 31 from Ryan Cader, who sometimes worked on his vehicle,” Booysen said.
The affidavit, which was read out in court, stated that Cader had told the doctor that one of his friends was not feeling well and asked if he could assist with a sick note.
“I told him to bring his friend to the hospital the next morning to be examined. The next day he arrived on his own, without the sick person, and on his request I wrote him a sick certificate for Gerber.”
The doctor stated further that when he was contacted by the police later that day regarding the sick note, he phoned Gerber and met him at his lawyer’s office in Barkly West.
According to the doctor’s affidavit, he told Gerber that the latter had never informed him that the police were looking for him. “I told him to go back to the hospital, where he was examined by another doctor.”
Cader, who also signed an affidavit read out in court, confirmed that he had asked the doctor to write the sick note, and that he picked it up the next day and took it to court, where he handed it to Gerber’s legal representative.
Booysen stated further that she and a colleague went to Gerber’s house on June 1 but he was not at home at the time. When he arrived home, she handed him her appointment card and he abruptly reversed his car and sped off, apparently endangering the lives of other motorists, including that of Lieutenant-Colonel Benade, who followed him.
“He could not be apprehended because he drove away. All the resources of the police, including the chopper and the flying squad, were activated to search for him.”
According to Gerber, he was not feeling well and on the recommendation of Cader, who was a business friend, he went to see the doctor in Barkly West late in the afternoon on May 31, who examined him. “As it was after hours, he could not open a file for me and told me to come back the next day.”
He said Cader offered to pick up the sick certificate for him from the doctor and drop it off at court because he could see he was ill.
He added that on the morning of June 1 he went to the pharmacy for medication but did not have enough money. When he arrived home, he saw a vehicle, but did not realise that it was the police as it was too far away and it was unmarked. “I thought it was the Sheriff of the Court.”
He said that he then went back to the ZK Matthews Hospital in Barkly West, where he saw another doctor, who gave him an injection as he was so ill.
Gerber said that since he lost his business, MotoNet, in November last year, the Sheriff of the Court and other people were often at his residence, which is in a complex in Hillcrest, with summonses for debt and other documents, and it was extremely embarrassing in front of his neighbours.
He added that his house, owned by the Gerber Family Trust, was the only asset he currently had as he had lost everything else.
“I have always co-operated with the police in their investigations but now these people are acting like cowboys. I get lots of threats since I closed my business and I feel like my life is in danger.”
Regarding the two affidavits made, Gerber said he believed that the authors had been intimidated or threatened by the police and that he could not understand why they had not told the truth, even though the doctor was jeopardising his medical career.
“I can’t believe the rigmarole that is going on now and that if someone is sick they are treated like a criminal.”
He said he also never heard the helicopter and was unaware that the police were looking for him because the police officers had never identified themselves and he thought they could be hit men after him.
“There are a lot of planes and helicopters that fly out of the Kimberley Airport but on that day I didn’t hear one that was supposed to be chasing me.”
The hearing was postponed until today.