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Trial of man with possible Phala Phala links stalls

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Trial of man with possible Phala Phala links stalls

6th December 2023

By: News24Wire

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The long-awaited gun-running trial of the man named in Arthur Fraser's explosive affidavit on the Phala Phala money heist stalled in the Cape Town Regional Court on Tuesday because his lawyer called in sick.

Urbanus Shaumbwako's case is not directly related to the Phala Phala robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa's farm in Limpopo on 9 February 2020, but it is being keenly watched because his name was mentioned in the ex-spy boss' affidavit, which caused political ripples. 

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During trial preparation proceedings, the Namibian claimed the Hawks visited him without his lawyer present, while he was in remand in Pollsmoor Prison, and asked him to go through the Fraser affidavit to help the Hawks fact check it. His lawyer said he refused.

Tuesday's case involved a high-speed chase in Table View, near Blouberg, on 18 October 2020. He is alleged to have sped through a roadblock, weaving through traffic, and skipping robots in an attempt to get away from the police. 

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When he was finally cornered, he allegedly tried to throw a bag out of the car, and then pretended it was not his. 

He is alleged to have been in possession of ten 9mm Berettas and two 9mm Lugers, of which the serial numbers had been filed off.

He is also charged with erasing the serial numbers of the 12 firearms, failing to notify the registrar of the Central Firearms Registry that the manufacturer's serial numbers of the firearms were altered, and modifying firearms without being the holder of a gunsmith's licence. 

He pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, the trial focused on a traffic officer's testimony relating to the 18 October high-speed chase. 

It was expected to continue on Tuesday, but his lawyer called in sick.

The trial was postponed to 22 and 23 February, and the markedly thinner Shaumbwako was led back to the police cells for a return to prison.

Ramaphosa initially did not report the theft of money stored on his property, and his head of security, Wally Rhoode, took care of it. 

Fraser lodged a complaint with the police against Ramaphosa for alleged money-laundering.

News24 previously reported that Ramaphosa claimed the $580 000 in cash was paid to his former farm manager, Sylvester Ndlovu, by Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa on Christmas Day in 2019.

In court appearances directly related to the robbery, Phala Phala cleaner Froliana Joseph and her brother, David Joseph, a cash-in-transit van driver, who are accused of playing key roles in the break-in, were granted bail in November.

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