Ac­cused gun­run­ner’s moves rum­bled

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

IN THE days af­ter his re­lease on bail charged with theft of po­lice firearms, restau­ra­teur Ir­shaad La­her trans­ferred all his busi­ness in­ter­ests to third par­ties, in­clud­ing his wife, the Western Cape High Court has heard.

How­ever, fi­nan­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tors were trac­ing his ev­ery move and when they no­ticed no funds were in­volved in the trans­ac­tions they raised the alarm.

The As­set For­fei­ture Unit ( AFU) pounced days later and ob­tained a pro­vi­sional re­straint or­der, snatch­ing up all his busi­ness in­ter­ests, prop­er­ties and cars, in­clud­ing his R3 mil­lion Ron­de­bosch home and his shares in pop­u­lar restau­rants in Cape Town.

All the en­ti­ties were cited as re­spon­dents in the AFU’s ap­pli­ca­tion, as well as those who took over the busi­nesses, La­her’s wife Tahiera Mo­dack and his mother.

La­her, 41, was ar­rested last month and ap­peared in the Bel­lville Mag­is­trate’s Court on charges of fraud, cor­rup­tion, and the theft of firearms and am­mu­ni­tion.

It is al­leged he played an in­te­gral role in the sup­ply of arms to Western Cape gang­sters by act­ing as the mid­dle­man be­tween the gangs and for­mer Vereenig­ing po­lice colonel Chris­ti­aan Prinsloo.

Prinsloo, who has al­ready been con­victed and is serv­ing 18 years in jail, was the head of a Ger­mis­ton ar­moury where po­lice firearms were sent to be de­stroyed.

Ac­cord­ing to the pa­pers in the AFU’s ap­pli­ca­tion, La­her con­spired with Prinsloo from 2008 to 2014 to steal po­lice firearms from the ar­moury des­tined for destruction.

Leonardo Goosen, deputy direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, said in an af­fi­davit about 2 000 firearms, in­clud­ing R5 ri­fles, were ex­changed. La­her sold the firearms for around R4 500 each.

Goosen was un­able to at­tach the af­fi­davits of State wit­nesses, say­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was sen­si­tive. He al­leged La­her ben­e­fited to the tune of R9 mil­lion, “if one takes into ac­count the num­ber of guns re­ceived by (La­her) from Prinsloo”.

The pro­vi­sional re­straint or­der, which was capped at that amount, re­quires La­her to dis­close his as­sets to a cu­ra­tor.

Goosen ar­gued that La­her and his wife trans­ferred their shares in a Nando’s out­let to busi­ness­man Reaaz Ahmed, who is the co-owner of Good Hope Meat butch­ery.

Days later, he trans­ferred his share in the Ob­ser­va­tory Spur to Ron­de­bosch woman Sally San­dra El-Saidy.

His in­ter­est in the Ot­tery Spur was trans­ferred to his wife, mak­ing her the sole owner of the branch.

Judge James Yek­iso granted the pro­vi­sional re­straint or­der.

The mat­ter re­turns to court on Oc­to­ber 25, when the par­ties have to show cause why the pro­vi­sional re­straint or­der should not be con­firmed.


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