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Cop facing kidnapping charge forfeits her bakkie to the state

18 December 2021 - 11:27
Eastern Cape police officer Mariaan Muller, who is accused of kidnapping a shop owner, has forfeited her bakkie to the state.
Eastern Cape police officer Mariaan Muller, who is accused of kidnapping a shop owner, has forfeited her bakkie to the state.
Image: 123rf.com/Tinnakorn Jorruang

An Eastern Cape police officer charged with kidnapping a shop owner has forfeited her vehicle to the state.

The high court in Gqeberha ordered that Mariaan Muller’s Chevrolet Corsa bakkie be confiscated. The 10-page judgment handed down by Judge Nyameko Gqamana details the shop owner’s fate in the hands of his alleged kidnappers.

According to the judgment, Muller and a Constable Daniels visited the shop owner in Joe Slovo informal settlement, Kariega, in full uniform.

They allegedly instructed him to accompany them to Kamesh police station under the false pretence that they were investigating a robbery.   

“Without any hesitation [the shop owner] duly complied and was ferried in a red VW Polo driven by Daniels with no registration plates,” the judgment reads. 

“Instead of taking [the shop owner] to Kamesh police station as they indicated, they travelled with him along the R75 towards Kirkwood. They drove with him to a remote and bushy area where a tall black male with a firearm was waiting for them.

"[The shop owner’s] hands and legs were tied up with cable ties and thereafter he was assaulted. In the course of the assault, [Muller] and her accomplices demanded from him a ransom amount of R120,000 with threats to kill him.

“Later they drove back to Daniels' residence with him squashed in the boot of the Polo. Daniels [and Muller] contacted [the shop owner’s] brother and demanded the sum of R120,000, but the latter was only able to raise an amount of R15,000.”

The shop owner’s brother reported the incident at Kamesh police station.

“[The shop owner] was locked up at Daniels' house overnight.  The following morning, he was again transported in the Polo to a bushy area and a white Corsa bakkie with tinted windows driven by [Muller] followed them,” the judgment reads. 

“At the bushes he was taken out of the Polo and loaded into the back of this white Corsa bakkie which was still driven by [Muller].  [Muller] drove around with him and he was later taken back to a house where he was locked up and left with his hands tied. He however succeeded to rescue himself and seek refuge at a neighbouring house.”  

Muller was pointed out to the police on August 30 2020 and she was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Police seized a Corsa bakkie, with tinted windows, that was found at her premises. The prosecution then applied for forfeiture order.

Muller opposed the application and denied that the vehicle was used in the commission of the crime. But Gqamana was not convinced.

“[The shop owner], in his statement to the police, explained in detail the involvement of [Muller] and the [vehicle] in committing the offence concerned and corroborates the [prosecution’s] case as to the issue for adjudication in this application,” he said.

“Given all this evidence, I am satisfied [Muller's] denial of the involvement of the [vehicle]  in the commission of the offence concerned is just a bare denial and it is far-fetched and can be rejected merely on the papers.

“Consequently, I am also satisfied that there is a direct link between the commission of the crime and the property. The property played a reasonably direct role in the commission of the offence. It facilitated and made possible for the offence to be committed. Kidnapping by its very nature is a continuous offence.”

Gqamana ordered that the vehicle be forfeited to the state. The kidnapping case is still pending.



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