Almost R100 000 that “dropped” from a Durban hotel room window will be preserved by the State after the money was linked to a Pietermaritzburg drug dealer.
Lieutenant Colonel Jageesh Singh of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Unit, explained in papers before the Pietermaritzburg High Court why the money — amounting to R97 627 — should be preserved.
He said it would be reasonable to infer that the cash was related to a drug deal that had gone bad.
He said some of the cash was thrown out of the hotel window and some was left scattered in the hotel room, abandoned in a hurry.
In granting the order, the court said that any person who has an interest in the money, and who intends opposing the application — for an order forfeiting the property to the State — must file an affidavit.
Singh said in court papers that on June 30, 2019, an employee at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban was cleaning around the pool area on the second floor of the hotel when he noticed a bag fall onto the floor next to him.
The bag contained cash which was later counted by staff. It totalled R61 150. On the same day, another cleaner found money strewn on the bed in a room on the 18th floor while she was cleaning. That amount was counted to be R31 807.
He said that among the personal items found in the room was a car hire receipt. All the cash and other items were put in the hotel safe for safekeeping.
Singh added that an investigator from Fidelity Security Services responded to a call from the hotel and was informed about the cash. The investigator called the car hire company and established the name of the person who had hired the car. It was Moses Mncwabe.
Singh added he has nine convictions relating to drug dealing activities, between 2002 to 2010.
He said the hotel room was booked under his wife, Nosibusiso Dladla’s name. When the investigator contacted Mncwabe, he denied hiring the car or the room, saying that the woman who had booked the room was his wife.
Mncwabe told the investigator that his wife was unavailable and that he knew nothing of her booking into the hotel.
However, Singh added that a few hours later, Mncwabe called the investigator and told him that he did hire a vehicle from the car rental company and that he and his wife had booked a room at the hotel. He said they got drunk, had an argument and left money behind.
Singh said that numerous appointments were made for Mncwabe to meet the investigator at the hotel to collect the money, but he never came. The police then got involved.