Two Mokopane businessmen were found guilty for operating gas cylinder plant without a license and fined R500 000 by the Mokopane Regional Court in Limpopo on Friday.
In March 2022, the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team members received information about a plant in Mahwereng outside Mokopane that was refilling and selling gas cylinders bearing different brands without being authorized. Since then, the plant has been under police radar.
On 16 September 2022, the accused Tahir Hassan (33) and Javed Khan (40) were arrested during a multidisciplinary sting operation comprising the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Mokopane Bomb Disposal, Local Criminal Record Centre and the Department of Home Affairs.
These also included the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Department of Environmental Affairs, Mogalakwena Fire and Rescue and Royal Square (brand representatives).
During the operation, the team seized a large number of gas cylinders bearing different brands with the estimated value of over R600 000-00.
After a few court appearances, the accused were granted bail. On Friday, the accused entered into a plea agreement with the state and were ultimately sentenced as follows:
• On count 1, which is developing a site without a license, they were each sentenced to R250 000 or six months imprisonment half of which is suspended for five years.
• On count 2, which is retail in prescribed petroleum products without an application for retail license, the accused were also each sentenced to R250 000 or sixty months imprisonment half of which is suspended for five years.
• On count 3, which consists nine counts of fraud, the accused were sentenced to R10 000 or two years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years on condition that they are not found guilty on similar charges during the period of suspension.
The Provincial Head of the Hawks, Major General Gopz Govender appreciated the team members for their meritorious efforts together with the National Prosecuting Authority.
“I would like to warn those who are conducting similar businesses without a license that their days are numbered,” said Major General Govender.
Source: South African Government News Agency