Gun shop director ‘sold conflict arms’
THE DIRECTOR of a Joburg gun shop which has apparently been under investigation by military intelligence for two years, has been accused of importing military weapons for “special forces”, then selling them on to countries at war.
The allegations are revealed in a State affidavit placed before the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court yesterday, during the bail application of Gareth de Nysschen, a director of Dave Sheer Guns.
De Nysschen was arrested by the military police last week at OR Tambo International Airport, along with general manager Efthimios Demis Karamitsos, for allegedly dealing in stolen military ammunition.
Investigating officer Stella Ngwenya said in her affidavit that their probe had lifted the lid on the alleged illegal import of “weapons of mass destruction, like the Gatling gun and 40mm rockets”. These were were brought into South Africa, along with conventional weapons, under the “guise” of a contract for the special forces.
“Under the auspices of a tender (sic) awarded to a business NGAM, weapons were illegally brought into the country with a legal consignment, and inter alia… never delivered to the special forces,” the affidavit states. “It was subsequently shipped to Syria, Sudan Republic of Chimbote and Kenia (sic).”
Quantities of these weapons were seized at the premises of Dave Sheer CC.
However John Erasmus, a director of NGAM (New Generation Arms Management) which was named in the affidavit as the importer of arms, said the allegations were false.
“Everything was brought into the country legally, and nothing was exported. They were for the special forces,” he said, suggesting that an agent for the state security agency was attempting to have him shut down.
He was involved in a separate court case in this respect.
Erasmus said he would lay charges of slander.
Ngwenya’s affidavit also says the police anti-corruption unit was investigating high-ranking officials within the police for corruption relating to permits unlawfully issued to Dave Sheer CC for the importing/exporting of arms and ammunition, and that the directorate of priority crimes was also investigating the company for unlawfully importing fully automatic firearms.
She added that the directorate was aware that the Central Firearms Registry was in the process of rescinding all trading/firearms licences issued to Dave Sheer CC, after which the business would no longer be allowed to trade.
Prosecutor Mienke Erasmus said part of her reason for opposing bail for De Nysschen was that he had, on four different occasions, supplied a false address. He claimed he lived at an apartment in Bedfordview, but the investigating officer found it empty and for sale.
The accused’s brother arrived and took her to another apartment, which according to the State’s affidavit was furnished but was dusty and appeared unoccupied. The State also said it had confirmed that De Nysschen lived in Ruimsig.
The prosecutor said De Nysschen had also lied about when he booked an airline ticket to the US.
The accused said he booked his ticket three weeks ago, but the ticket was only booked a week ago.
“Upon his arrest the applicant informed the arresting officer that he was on his way to Las Vegas and would have flown from there to Mexico (with whom South Africa has no extradition treaty),” Ngwenya said in her affidavit.
The defence accused Erasmus of bringing unrelated matters before the court in light of the fact that the charges related to the selling of military ammunition.
Attorney Annelene van den Heever said De Nysschen had not been charged for any of the other matters under investigation, and so should not have to answer to them during this bail application.
Magistrate Syfred Mati postponed judgment until Tuesday.
ARRESTED: Gareth de Nysschen