Con­fu­sion over ‘stolen’ ve­hi­cles

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - MUR­RAY SWART STAFF RE­PORTER

A LO­CAL mo­tor deal­er­ship has fallen vic­tim to an ap­par­ent scam, which has led to a na­tion­wide search for four pas­sen­ger trans­porters.

So­cial me­dia was abuzz yes­ter­day with re­ports that six Mercedes-Benz Sprint­ers had been stolen from the lo­cal deal­er­ship.

Yes­ter­day, the dealer prin­ci­pal at Gariep Mo­tors, Louis Ver­meulen, re­futed claims that the ve­hi­cles had been stolen from the lo­cal busi­ness, ex­plain­ing that the six mini­vans had been made avail­able to Mercedes-Benz’s head of­fice in or­der to ful­fil an or­der from the na­tional Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs (DEA).

“These ve­hi­cles were not stolen but were im­pli­cated in fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­ity,” Ver­meulen ex­plained yes­ter­day.

“Mercedes-Benz South Africa au­tho­rised us to sup­ply the six Sprint­ers to one of their clients. We then de­liv­ered the first four ve­hi­cles on Wed­nes­day and re­leased the other two on Thurs­day morn­ing.

“How­ever, no sooner had we done so, when they (Mercedes South Africa) con­tacted us and told us not to con­tinue with the de­liv­ery.”

While the first four ve­hi­cles had not been recovered by the time of go­ing to press yes­ter­day, Ver­meulen said that mem­bers of the SAPS had man­aged to re­trieve the two Sprint­ers that left Kimberley yes­ter­day, on the N12 be­tween War­ren­ton and Chris­tiana.

“This in­ci­dent doesn’t re­ally have much of an im­pact on us as we were sim­ply sup­ply­ing the ve­hi­cles on be­half of our head of­fice.

“The im­por­tant thing now is for head of­fice to sharpen up on their side to avoid sim­i­lar in­ci­dents from hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.”

While Mercedes South Africa could not be reached for com­ment, the spokesper­son for the DEA, Albi Modise, said that the depart­ment was not aware of the ve­hi­cles im­pli­cated in the in­ci­dent.

Po­lice spokesper­son, Cap­tain Ole­bo­geng Tawana, said that the mat­ter was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated and was of a sen­si­tive na­ture.

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