The widow of murdered controversial businessman Raven Rungan said she bore no knowledge of an alleged scheme in which her husband and his company, V&R Auto, are accused of assisting former metro spin doctor Roland Williams to defraud an insurance firm.
Defence Advocate Richard Crompton said he had no other option but to enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client, V&R Auto, due to Renika Rungan’s complete lack of knowledge of the alleged offence, despite the state’s call for her to stand trial on behalf of the tow truck company.
Also yesterday, the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court heard that former Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Williams had finally paid his legal fees and the matter could now proceed to trial. The case was set down for trial between January 22 and 26.
Renika, who now lives in Johannesburg, had been excused from attending court yesterday.
It is alleged Williams approached Rungan in 2014 to assist him in faking the damage to his black 2005 BMW 3 Series, which began experiencing engine problems and had become too expensive to repair.
At the time, Williams held a short-term insurance policy with Santam Limited.
It is alleged that in August 2014 Williams told his broker he had had a car accident on the Addo road near Motherwell and the BMW had been extensively damaged.
He allegedly said the vehicle had been towed from the scene of the accident to V&R’s premises in Walmer, where it was kept in storage.
Williams allegedly made a similar report to the police.
V&R then issued a tax invoice for the so-called salvaging of the vehicle, as well as the towing and storage fees.
A total of just more than R100 000 was paid by Santam.
The state claims the vehicle was in fact damaged with a rollback vehicle, bricks and a screwdriver.
Renika became a member of the close corporation after her husband’s death two years ago.
He was gunned down at a stop street close to their Port Elizabeth family home. No arrests were made.
Crompton said: “I have no instructions due to [Renika’s] complete lack of knowledge.”
Williams’s defence attorney, Kuban Chetty, meanwhile, confirmed that he had been financially instructed and could proceed to trial.
The court had warned Williams during his last appearance to settle his legal bill so that a trial date could finally be arranged.