A Mercedes Benz worth at least R3,5 million that is understood to have been used by captured South African murder convict and escapee Thabo Bester is still stuck at Beitbridge Border Post after it was impounded by law enforcement agents at the border last year, it has emerged.
Bester hogged the limelight in South Africa after his audacious prison escape that was orchestrated with the assistance of his girlfriend and celebrity Dr Nandipha Magudumana. The car was intercepted on May 9 last year when a 36-year-old man from Beitbridge, Sicelo Ndlovu removed South Africa-registered plates from the car and replaced them with Zimbabwean plates.
Ndlovu was later acquitted at the Beitbridge magistrate’s courts where he had appeared on charges of smuggling. Sources at the border said yesterday that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was still holding on to the car pending further legal action.
“The vehicle is still impounded pending further legal proceedings,” said a border source yesterday.
It is reported that the prison escapee was travelling in that vehicle before it was busted by the alert Ferret security team. He was remanded to June 2 on $30 000 bail pending trial and ordered to report to CID Beitbridge once per two weeks.
Indications are that Ndlovu, the alleged smuggler who was in the company of two others known as Craig and Brian arrived at the Beitbridge Border Post driving a South Africa-registered Mercedes Benz. They removed its original registration plates and fitted Zimbabwean plates (AFC 2106).
After that they drove the vehicle to the last check point intending to leave the border where they were busted by an alert security guard who discovered that the vehicle had not been properly cleared to enter the country.
Ndlovu then drove back to the border and the matter was reported to the police who found him removing the Zimbabwe registration plates, he later hid under his jersey. The registration plates were recovered and upon verification it was established that they were that of a Subaru Legacy.
According to media reports south of the Limpopo River, (Thabo) Bester skipped the border to Zimbabwe to lay low after escaping from the Mangaung Maximum Security Prison where he allegedly paid R5 million to at least nine prison warders who helped him escape. The man is alleged to have faked his death to escape from the prison in Bloemfontein. Bester is being detained in the C-Max section of Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre.
He has since been extradited from Tanzania and returned to prison on Thursday. South Africa’s Justice Minister, Mr Ronald Lamola told the media yesterday that the convict was arrested by Tanzanian security authorities. He was busted along with a woman with whom he is alleged to be his girlfriend, and a Mozambican accomplice.
“We can confirm that these fugitives have been returned to South Africa from Tanzania. Mr Thabo Bester has been readmitted into the Kgosi Mampuru Central Maximum Correctional Facility,” said Minister Lamola. -state media