The case against convicted fraudster Amier Moosagie took a surprise twist this week when the state said it wanted to return the fugitive millionaire’s restrained assets and the police admitted their hunt for Moosagie had come to an end.
The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) said it was costing too much to hold onto the restrained goods.
Moosagie, 64, of Malabar, took flight on Christmas Day four years ago before the Port Elizabeth High Court could sentence him on charges of tax fraud, forgery, money laundering and racketeering involving more than R3-million.
His co-accused, Desiree Jenkins, was sentenced to an effective 10 years in prison for her part in the offence.
But now, and although the businessman is still missing, the state wants to release the assets restrained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit in March 2014.
Advocate Nkululeko Ndzengu, a deputy director of public prosecutions in the Eastern Cape, said when comparing the value of the assets to the curator fees incurred, it was no longer viable for the state to pursue a confiscation order.
Meanwhile, provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Sibongile Soci said Interpol had confirmed that they did not have a file on Moosagie. The initial restraint order against Moosagie’s assets, valued at R2.4-million at the time, extended to his interests in: Dunya Properties Uitenhage (Pty) Ltd; Highfield Road Properties CC; Moosagie Properties (Pty) Ltd; Port Elizabeth Roadworthy Centre CC; Ubuntu Security Service CC; Umhlobo Re-Cyclers CC; Thamsanqa Stores CC; Amier-Baheejah Trust; and LAM Family Trust. Further assets included a Mercedes Benz motor vehicle and a Henred Fruehauf trailer.
But in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday, a dissatisfied Judge Elna Revelas said she found the application by the NDPP to be lacking.
Ndzengu said his office would now file a supplementary affidavit from the court-appointed curator to show the exact value of the assets and the costs incurred so far.
“There are little assets in Mr Moosagie’s name.
“Most assets are registered in trust, with his first wife as the beneficiar y.
“The state is carrying the curator’s fees. We need to cut costs for the state.”
After their convictions in respect of the charges, the restraint order against Moosagie, his first wife Baheejah Moosagie, and Jenkins was confirmed by the high court in March 2014.
However, the ruling against Baheejah, who was not part of the criminal matter, was discharged after she submitted that she and Moosagie had divorced in1998, and that the order should be limited to property obtained during the period in which the unlawful activities were committed.
In papers before court, Ndzengu said: “We considered bringing an application in terms of Section 24 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act to confiscate the property of [Moosagie], but in the circumstances of this case, we are of the view that it is not desirable.”
He said the restraint order in place no longer served any purpose and the state was accordingly incurring unnecessary curator fees. It was also not possible to give notice of the application to Moosagie, who remained a fugitive from justice.