South Africa

Family denies Gupta link in Sandra Moonsamy abduction

Family denies Gupta link in Sandra Moonsamy abduction

Durban - The brother of Sandra Moonsamy, who was held for ransom for more than five months, refuted speculation that his sister was kidnapped over dodgy business deals with the Gupta family or anyone else

In an exclusive interview, Inderan Naicker, one of the directors in their family run logistics and plant hire business, said his sister’s “miraculous” return was through prayer and good police work.

“Sandra was not kidnapped because of bad business deals.

“Innuendo that the family was in debt and someone was seeking revenge has been a low blow. The kidnappers are just opportunistic criminals looking to make money.”

Naicker said while his family rejoiced and there were “more tears than talking” since she was rescued last week, he couldn’t understand some people’s thinking and the negative speculations.

Moonsamy, 46, and a mother of two, was kidnapped in Pinetown on May 30.

Her abductors, who later made a R140 million ransom demand, then moved her to a house in eMalahleni (Witbank), Mpumalanga.

However, police investigators eventually tracked Moonsamy to the house, where she was found in poor health and with chains bound to her feet.

Two of the four suspects that police arrested were found at the house with Naicker.

All four men appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday for a bail hearing. The hearing was held in camera because of the “sensitivity of the case” and police had not conducted an ID parade at the time.

They were charged for kidnapping, extortion and attempted murder.

Magistrate Anand Maharaj adjourned the matter to tomorrow.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke confirmed that the matter would continue to be held in camera.

Naicker said he preferred to let the NPA and investigators do their work, and he also hoped for the arrest of the syndicate’s remaining members.

“It hasn’t sunken in fully that Sandra has been found, but it is such a relief.”

He recalled the telephone calls his sister was allowed to make while in captivity.

“Sometimes those conversations would run for about seven minutes, but it felt like a second.

“When we spoke, emotions would set in and I usually blanked out once the call ended. It plays on your mind and you are left feeling traumatised.”

Naicker said she always asked about her children and the family.

“She also asked when she would be coming home and I told her that we were working on it. She knew the financial side of our business and understood that we would pull out all the stops if we could.”

The police contacted Naicker when they made the breakthrough.

“When Brigadier Gops Govender and his team got to Sandra, she panicked and was scared. But when she heard my voice on the phone, she eased up and realised they were working with me.”

Naicker said that his sister was still receiving medical attention as she was highly traumatised and lost about half of her normal body mass.

On speculation why Moonsamy was abducted, Naicker believed there were “vindictive people”, some from opposition companies, who spread negative narratives.

He said when they entered into a business contract with the Gupta-owned mining company Confident Concepts in 2016, they dealt with their lieutenants and not the shareholders.

“We had no idea of any Gupta involvement. We were hired to supply plant and machinery and they were obliged to pay.

“They failed to pay us initially. That’s when our lawyers engaged them and we eventually got paid.”

Naicker said when they did not get paid for the second time, they later learned that the company had fallen into the hands of business rescue practitioners.

By then, they had cancelled their contract with the company and had to go to court to retrieve their plant and machinery, and the court refused to hear the matter on an urgent basis.

Instead of re-enrolling the matter, Naicker said they then decided to negotiate with the business rescue practitioners for the release of the machinery which was worth R100m.

Naicker denied the family business owed Engen R50m over unpaid fuel bills, or that the petroleum giant made an application to liquidate the company or repossess any of their property.

He said Engen brought an application to court where they asked for a perfection of security in terms of a notarial bond (collateral) taken against a loan they got from Engen.

“When I signed the notarial bond, it was around the time that Sandra was taken. She was the company’s chief financial officer and her absence caused a delay in repayments.

“We continue to transport fuel for Engen. Everything is up to date.”

Sunday Tribune