Heist fingerprints genuine, court told

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

There was no way that fingerprints lifted from two vehicles after a robbery at FNB two years ago could have been transplanted or forged, the Johannesburg high court heard yesterday.

Lamson Rathumbu, a fingerprint expert based at the Secunda local criminal record centre, told the court that there was no sign of "double image" - fingerprints from two different people in one mark - from the prints he took.

"The fingerprints were taken from the Toyota Hi-Ace kombi and Isuzu truck that were parked just outside the bank. The prints were verified by four experts for their authenticity," Rathumbu said.

Elias Thutse, 34, Fabian Damons, 32, Daniel Mathaba, 42, Dick Ngobeni, 26, Jimmy Bilankulu, 37, Muntu Mahlangu, 42, Vincent Xaba, 29, Themba Mahlangu, 32, and Simon Mncwango, 40, are on trial for robbery, attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Rathumbu said the fingerprints he took from the vehicles corresponded with the fingerprints taken by police from Themba Mahlangu and Muntu Mahlangu.

Lawyers representing the two men respectively, advocates Chris Erasmus and John Bouer, admitted that the fingerprints matched those of their clients but would dispute the manner in which they were taken.

The trial continues today.