Accused gunrunner’s moves rumbled
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.