Gun shop di­rec­tor ‘sold con­flict arms’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ANGELIQUE SERRAO

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

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