Call gives miss­ing busi­ness­man’s fam­ily hope

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE NDLAZI

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.

PIC­TURE: THOBILE MATHONSI

COM­FORTED: Ab­dul­lah Car­rim, right, the son of miss­ing Pre­to­ria busi­ness­man, Omar Car­rim, is com­forted by Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Siza­kele Nkosi-Malobane.

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