Call gives missing businessman’s family hope
THE son of missing Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim said he had hoped to reunite with his missing 76-year-old father after he received a call from him on Sunday afternoon.
Abdullah Carrim is one of Carrim’s five sons and was speaking at a joint media briefing with the police and Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane. The 49-yearold Abdullah was tearful and looked tired.
Abdullah said he had received a call from his father, who assured him that he was okay and wanted his chronic medication. “It was a brief but assuring phone call, which made me hopeful of seeing my father again,” he said.
Since his family started making plans to offer a reward for information on his father, which were leaked before they were made public, the family has been inundated with phony and fake calls, he said.
“One man called and pretended to be my father, but obviously I could make out that was not my father’s voice,” he said.
An intensive search was launched when the Laudium man went missing on Thursday, after leaving his shop, Home Hyper, in the city centre.
Police later found his gutted Mercedes-Benz east of Pretoria, but said they were still searching for signs of a body.
They also found his spectacles in Radiokop and suspect that he had been abducted there.
Nkosi-Malobane said they were following up all the calls and not taking them lightly.
“We have to use and consider any and all information coming our way,” she said.
In addition to the ongoing investigation, two national police experts and local police investigators have been assigned to the case.
The Carrim family have also hired two private investigators to work on the case. “We will work together with the two private investigators,” said NkosiMalobane.
She added that messages regarding a ransom had not been verified.
“As far as I know, there were no ransom calls received,” she said.
Alongside the burnt out car were bones, which NkosiMalobane said were being tested by forensic experts.
“We first have to establish if the bones are human or those of an animal. Once that is established, we can start with DNA testing,” she said.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said they were investigating a case of kidnapping as well as hijacking.
Since June, there have been three kidnappings of elderly Indian businessmen in the country, raising questions of a syndicate operating.
But Major-General Daniel Mthombeni has disregarded the possibility of it being a syndicate, saying it could be a new trend. He said the police had launched a hunt, but were only investigating a case of hijacking and kidnapping.
According to the family’s spokesperson, social and anticrime activist Yusuf Abramjee, Carrim left his business premises before 6pm for his home.
The family became worried and when they called him, found that his cellphone had been switched off.
“The motive is still unclear, but clearly it wasn’t a hijacking, otherwise they would have just taken the vehicle,” Abramjee said, adding that the family were very distraught and thanked the community for their support.
COMFORTED: Abdullah Carrim, right, the son of missing Pretoria businessman, Omar Carrim, is comforted by Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.