Sunday, April 18, 2010
SBV heist cash secret
Apr 18, 2010 12:00 AM | By Taschica Pillay
The identity of the person who has the unrecovered millions from the country's biggest cash-in-transit heist is known to only three people - two convicted robbers and the man with the money.
MARKED MAN: Convicted SBV robber Clive Gounden, who was released on parole this week, proudly displays his tattoos Picture: TEBOGO LETSIE
'Perumal Naidoo and Colin Nayager, who are still in, are merely staying there with nothing they received from the proceeds of crime. The person who has taken possession of their ill-gotten gains is now stinking rich, which is his share and theirs'
That's according to Clive Gounden, one of 16 men sentenced in 2001 for their role in the August 1996 robbery.
Gounden was initially sentenced to an effective 43 years in prison - 20 years for the R31-million robbery and 23 years for R7.4-million heist in 1998. His sentence was later reduced to 23 years after a successful appeal, for his role in the R31-million robbery from the cash depot in Pinetown.
Also taken during the robbery were three rifles, four handguns, two motor vehicles, 288 rounds of ammunition and three video cameras.
Nineteen accused were originally arrested in 1998. In 2001, 16 were found guilty, among them five policemen, three SBV guards, a prominent Chatsworth lawyer and six women, three of them sisters.
Only R5-million of the stolen money was recovered, but the assets of the accused were frozen after their arrest and sold on auction to try to recoup some of the funds.
Gounden was released on Wednesday after serving 13 years. He said although his release might be exciting, joy would come only when the other accused, some of whom are serving 48-year sentences, were released.
"Having entered prison together, to have left them behind is hard to accept. The joyous times can start when they are released. It will be a well-planned party," said the 44-year-old father of two.
"Perumal Naidoo and Colin Nayager, who are still in, are merely staying there with nothing they received from the proceeds of crime. The person who has taken possession of their ill-gotten gains is now stinking rich, which is his share and theirs," he said.
He said only Naidoo and Nayager knew the identity of the person who has "their share".
Speaking this week at his Westcliff, Chats-worth, home, Gounden proudly displayed his tattooed body, including a tattoo on his left shoulder designed by all the accused in the SBV heists as a remembrance of the heists and their bond. It shows a bird carrying bags of money.
He said the lesson he had learnt from the robbery and during his imprisonment was to trust nobody.
He said although he was convicted for the 1996 robbery, he was not involved in its planning. He therefore appealed against the conviction and sentence.
He said he became involved in 1998 when his services as a firearms training instructor were used in the training of security guards.
"I had no knowledge that they had been involved in the R31-million heist, but was aware of the planning of the R7.4-million, but it was too late for me to back off.
"It was greed and easy money. If the robbery was successful, I would have got a share. This would have been pocket money for me, as I was well off by then, as I had landed huge contracts before that. This pocket money cost me many years. Had I known what I was getting myself into, I would never have offered my services."
Gounden said what let the cat out of the bag was that the people who planned and executed the first robbery were meticulous but not schooled in how to spend the loot. Everyone went on a spending spree, which raised suspicion.
"However, in the R7.4-million robbery, despite it having been planned in a meticulous military way, there was a deviation from the plan, which cost everyone. I knew I wouldn't be picked up until the question was asked, 'Who trained you?' - which is when my name came up."
He said since his incarceration, he had taken on a leadership role.
"In 2002, a committee was formed and we became Aids activists. It was very difficult because we had to infiltrate the gangs and learn the culture of the prison."
He said he wanted to continue as an Aids activist and work with non-governmental organisations, as well as provide skills development.
"I would love to do something in security and be able to give back to the community."
Gounden, who was divorced from his wife last year, said he regretted not being around to see his children, now 18 and 14, growing up.
Times Live Comments by Sonny
There are more organised criminals in private security companies and the police, than
in civil society at present.
This is where all the stolen firearms are!