Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

‘We don’t know about cash’: Masemola says Thabo Bester ‘can go and ask in Tanzania’ about ‘stolen’ items

The commissioner says the police are in possession of Bester's two cellphones and a laptop.

National police commissioner Fannie Masemola has dismissed claims over convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester’s alleged missing items during his arrest in Tanzania.

Earlier this week, Bester’s lawyer revealed in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court that a number of items, worth at least R29 million, belonging to his client had been stolen on his arrival alongside his lover Dr Nandipha Magudumana at the airport.

WATCH: Lovebirds Thabo Bester and Nandipha reunite for first time after arrest

His legal representative Kabelo Matee told the court that there were luxury goods and money yet to be recovered.

Laptop, two cellphones

Speaking to the media in Johannesburg CBD on Saturday, Masemola rejected Bester’s claims.

“On arrival at Lanseria Airport, police confiscated two cellphones and a laptop. That’s what we know and what we are aware of. That was the only property that was given to us by the Department of Home Affairs on his arrival,” he said.

Masemola revealed the police were aware that the South African delegation that went to Tanzania had been told by the authorities there that Bester paid a lawyer with watches instead of money.

READ MORE: Court rejects Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s appeal challenging arrest in Tanzania

“We don’t know how many, but we are aware that he paid a lawyer with watches. If he had cash on him, how would he then pay for a lawyer for consultation with watches instead of paying cash?” the police commissioner said.

“We don’t know about the cash. Maybe he can go and ask in Tanzania, I don’t know, but we are only aware of one laptop and two cellphones that are currently in our stores, as we always keep the property for those that are detained.”

Bester claimed the following items were missing including:

  • iPhone 14 ProMax – R36 000
  • Samsung S23 – R32 000
  • Samsung Z4 – R40 000
  • iPad 16 – R18 000
  • Macbook Air 16 – R12 500
  • Macbook Pro 16 – R34 600
  • Burberry card holder – R15 500
  • Burberry sunglasses – R11 500
  • Tom Ford sunglasses – R9 500
  • HP laptop – R41 000
  • Louis Vuitton laptop bag – R51 000
  • Marriage ring – R350 000
  • Two Audemars Piguet watches – R2 500 000 each
  • Two FM watches – R2 500 000 each
  • Two Rolex watches – R2 600 000 each
  • C watch – R1 750 000
  • Patek Philippe watch – R1 900 000

Disappeared cash:

  • R295 000
  • $36 000
  • 7 200 000 Tanzanian Shillings
  • 1 400 000 Zambian Kwacha
  • £500 000
  • 150 000 Swiss Francs (about R3.2 million)

He also claimed that a Polo bag with clothes worth R750 000 was missing.

Bester has since opened a case at the Lanseria police station, according to Matee.

Thabo Bester’s prison escape

Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein on 3 May 2022, after faking his death in a staged jail cell fire.

Katlego Bareng’s body was found in the prison cell.

The convict and Magudumana were apprehended in Arusha on 7 April after fleeing South Africa.

So far, 12 people – including Bester and Magudumana – have been charged in connection to the prison escape.

The suspects will return to court on 11 October after their case was postponed for further investigations.

NOW READ: Thabo Bester: Suspect with ‘strong emotional ties’ to Bloemfontein granted R10k bail

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Dr Nandipha Fannie Masemola Tanzania Thabo Bester

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