Former tax auditor’s seized vehicles to be auctioned |16 April 2021
Friday April 23 promises what is possibly the most exciting public auction sale to be held in recent months, with five brand new Hybrid BMW X5e vehicles going under the hammer.
The auction, at the NSC Hall, Roche Caiman, is being held on behalf of the Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) of the Seychelles Police, following the seizure of the luxury vehicles, pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime (Civil) Confiscation Act (POCA) of 2008, as amended.
It was on September 7, 2020 that the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in favour of the government of Seychelles, represented by the FCIU, granting two interlocutory orders, the first of which prohibited former tax auditor Peter Roselie from “disposing of or otherwise dealing with whole or any part of the properties, all BMW X5 XDrive 40e, with a total value of R4,750,000”, in accordance with section 4 of POCA.
In delivering her ruling, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey also granted a second order under section 8 of POCA, to appoint Superintendent Hein Prinsloo as a Receiver of the specified property to manage, keep possession or dispose of, or otherwise deal with the property in respect of which he is appointed, based on the fact that Mr Roselie was unable to prove to court that he did not obtain the funds for the vehicles through criminal conduct.
“On this basis, I am satisfied on the Applicant’s information, together with the belief evidence of Superintendent Prinsloo that there are reasonable grounds at this stage to suspect that the specified property constitutes directly or indirectly, benefit from criminal conduct, or was acquired in whole or in part with or in connection with property that is directly or indirectly benefit from criminal conduct. This prima facie evidence against the Respondent has not been rebutted anyway.
“The Respondent has failed to show on a balance of probabilities that the specified properties retained were not from illegitimate sources,” CJ Twomey stated in her ruling, after having shifted the burden of proof to Mr Roselie to address the substantive issue in the case – the provenance of the funds for the cars.
As per belief evidence and the affidavit presented to court by Superintendent Prisloo, the documentation produced by Mr Roselie to Customs for clearing the vehicles he imported are marred by difficulties and inconsistencies, among which is failure to produce insurance certificates which are imperative for shipping freight; only an insurance quotation dated a month after the shipment was supplied. Additionally, the vehicles were allegedly shipped from the UK and Australia, and the freight costs appears the same from each country on the documentation, although the country of origin on documentation submitted to local authorities claims the goods entered via the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Further inconsistencies according to the court, is that the price for the cars seems under the average cost, that the chassis numbers do not match on the documentation produced; and no Bill of Export could be produced.
Following the auctioning of the vehicles, the proceeds are to be deposited into an asset recovery fund, to be forfeited to the government of Seychelles. This is achieved through a disposal order after the stipulated time limitation, to pursue such an application is observed, pursuant to the stated Act.
The FCIU is a division within the police force with the responsibility of investigating financial crimes. The unit is central to the intensifying fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.