Zambian national buys stolen Ford Ranger, arrested for car theft
Awilling buyer and willing seller situation has landed a Zambian national in hot soup as he has been arrested for the theft of a motor vehicle, a Ford Ranger worth E280 000.
Lafu Pearson Chilukuta (45) of Manzini has been arrested by the Police Serious Crimes Unit (Lukhozi) and has been charged with contravening the Theft of Motor Vehicle Act of 1991 as he is alleged to have stolen the vehicle from Barberton in the Republic of South Africa.
Chilukuta however screams innocence in the offence he has been charged with and claims he bought the car from another man without knowing that it had been stolen.
The Zambian national who is resident in the kingdom of Eswatini yesterday filed an urgent application for bail at the High Court where the matter was before Judge Maxine Langwenya as he wants out of jail pending his trial.
According to the charge sheet Chilukuta of Mkholo Lonsundvu flats in Manzini is charged with theft in that upon October 26 2018 at or near Barberton Extension 11 on south Africa, the accused person did wrongfully, unlawfully and with intent steal a Ford Ranger Double Cab white in colour valued at E280 000 and theft being a continuous offence, was found in possession of the vehicle at Manzini Milling in the Manzini Region on October 29 2018 being the property of Lunga Gordon Mavimbela of South Africa.
On the second count, he is charged with the offence of contravening the Theft of motor Vehicle Act 16 of 1991 in that on October 29 at Manzini Milling he was found driving the Ford Ranger which had falsified registration plate bearing HSD 218 CM which should had read HTL 429 MP and thus contravened the said act.
Represented by Manzini based lawyer Machawe Dlamini, the accused in his affidavit submitted that he was approached by one Khumbulani Shongwe who had heard that he was in need of a , a pick up van for his business and Shongwe came with the motor vehicle and advised that it was for sale.
He submitted that he became interest in the car and informed the said Shongwe that he wanted it but was to withdraw money from the back to facilitate its payment on a Monday as Shongwe had approached him on a weekend.
“I asked to test drive the car and he said I could have the car until Monday to satisfy myself with its condition and performance, however the police from Lukhozi unit came to my house and told me that they have been led to my place by a tracking devise from the motor vehicle, I told them where I got the car from and further gave them Shongwe’s cell phone number who when called said he was on his way to Durban was coming back the same day,” he alleged.
However when the police called Shongwe for the second time, his cell phone number was no longer available on the network.
He alleged that he was never at Barberton on October 26 2018, the day the car was stolen as he was in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
He informed the Court that his continued incarceration has serious repercussions since he is a sickly person who has high blood pressure and that his life is at great risk as he does not have a spare one.
He submitted that he is self -employed as he runs a consultancy business and has clients who have already paid him for his services as he is supposed to train and make presentations scheduled for the week of November 5 to 7 hence he stands to lose business.