Municipal official up for fraud over ‘hijacking’
‘He asked two colleagues to stage crime and burn his car’
A “FOOLISH” and brazen fraud of almost R400 000 – allegedly committed by an Ekurhuleni Metro official who had his car burnt to claim insurance money – has been foiled.
Ashley Naicker, a senior clerk in Ekurhuleni’s Springs office, allegedly faked being hijacked in October and had his Volvo V40 T3 burnt to claim money from Hollard Insurance, according to the police.
He was arrested in his office on Friday after police thwarted his elaborate plot.
“This guy got two of his colleagues he is working with at the Ekurhuleni Metro to hijack him and take the vehicle to the veld between Brakpan and Tsakane – next to Heidelberg Road – where they burnt the car,” said police spokesperson Captain Johannes Ramphora.
“The value of the car was about R400 000. He couldn’t cope with his monthly instalments, which is why he tried to do these things so that the insurance – which is Hollard – could settle the car, so that he could buy another car.”
Ramphora said Naicker was paid a portion of the R400 000 claim, of which he also received about R18 000 “as change”. His accounts have been frozen and police will seek to recover the money.
Ramphora said police worked with their crime intelligence officers and the insurance company to investigate the alleged fake hijacking as there was “something fishy” with how the supposed hijacking took place.
“For one, nothing other than the car was taken from Mr Naicker, not even his cellphone or wallet – no valuables whatsoever. This is what made the police suspicious, and they involved the Crime Intelligence Unit in the matter,” he said.
Ramphora did not want to elaborate on the details of how the crime intelligence officers tracked down Naicker and his two colleagues, saying only that informants were approached to assists the police.
“We tracked down Naicker’s two colleagues, who told us everything that Naicker planned. They sang beautifully, like angels,” Ramphora joked.
“The colleagues have turned State witnesses and were very co-operative during this investigation. We have not charged them. Only the court can decide what to do with them,” he added.
Naicker appeared in the Springs Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of fraud and perjury, where he was granted R3 000 bail. His next appearance will be on July 18.
Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe said the clerk would not be suspended immediately as the city wanted to monitor the court proceedings first before taking a decision on how to proceed with Naicker.
“We don’t want to pre-empt anything yet as the matter is still before the courts and the employee has not been found guilty. We note these are serious allegations that (Naicker) is facing, but I can’t comment further until his court case reaches its conclusion,” Gadebe added.
Speaking on behalf of Hollard Insurance, Warwick Bloom said: “We are unable to comment on the specific matter as it is sub judice.
“But in terms of more general statistics (of insurance fraud committed against Hollard), roughly 5% of the personal claims investigated last year were found to be fraudulent.”
Ramphora pointed out that this was a “foolish” crime to commit because the National Consumer Act empowered struggling debtors to approach the bank and make payment arrangements.