SANDF FRAUD CHARGES

A MAN accused of pretending to work for the South African National Defence Force and fraudulently selling army cars on the Internet is to go on trial in the Bellville specialised commercial crime court in April.

A MAN accused of pretending to work for the South African National Defence Force and fraudulently selling army cars on the Internet is to go on trial in the Bellville specialised commercial crime court in April.

Willem Carstens, 47, was to have entered a plea on Monday to multiple fraud charges involving R1474000, as well as one of money laundering, but the case was postponed to April 28 because he had been unable to raise money for his legal fees.

Carstens appeared before magistrate Amrith Chabilal, who gave privately-funded defence attorney Bern Rautenbach permission to withdraw as his attorney because the legal fees had not yet been paid.

Carstens is now represented, free of charge, by legal aid attorney Vernon Ebbersohn.

Chabilal said it was the second time that a privately-funded attorney had withdrawn due to Carstens's failure to pay the fees.

He told Carstens that he would not allow this to happen a third time, and that his trial would start on April 28 - with or without an attorney.

Prosecutor Sylvan Africa alleges that Carstens falsely advertised on the Gumtree website that he was in the employ of SANDF, and as such had authority to sell used army vehicles - which he did not.

Carstens faces 23 charges, of which 17 of fraud relate to his Gumtree adverts.

A further three relate to his falsely representing himself as an SANDF employee, and two more fraud charges allege that he failed to deliver vehicles for which he had already been paid. - Sapa

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