Derick Coetzee 40, cleared of all illegal-weapons charges: weapons returned

Legal arms-dealer targetted by SAPS disinformation campaign found not guilty of any illegal arms-dealing: Derick Coetzee’s confiscated legal weapons returned to him and he and his staff exonerated: 

June 27 2012  — The high-publicity event in which the SAPS in Pinetown Westville confiscated an arms-shipment from Malta amidst a storm of publicity  – claiming that it was an illegal arms shipment – have turned out to be a total lie.

South African Derick Coetzee who was arrested amidst a storm of publicity in KZN, has been completely exonerated of any wrongdoings together with his staff. And all the ‘illegal weapons’ were returned to him, as they were legal in every respect.

He wrote to us:

“we assist our international clients with legally importing and exporting their weapons into South Africa for the legitimate cause of securing vessels against piracy in the indian ocean. We were cleared of all charges on the 7th of February 2011.  The fact that all weapons were permitted  by the police – and  removed from the vessels by the police,  was also never mentioned.

“It is refreshing to have such an immediate response with the facts. I will be sure to inform my staff who were arrested for no reason, thrown in police cells and treated like criminals, that a correction has been made.

“We believe  in protecting innocent people earning a living at sea against opportunists and thieveses, in the same way a lot of South Africans employ the services of private security comanies to protect their homes and family.”
On Dec 24 2010 we reported from reports on IOL.co.za that Mr Coetzee  was arraigned in the Pinetown magistrate’s court after a dramatic police raid in Westville after the SAPS had confiscated an entirely legal arms shipment from Malta. The SAPS propaganda-machine was quoted as saying in the report that said the shipment had been ‘earmarked to ‘help fight Somalian pirates’  but had been ‘illegally diverted to the local arms trade,’ claimed the SAPS

Mr Coetzee’s legal shipment, comprised of  308 rifles, two shotguns, two AM3 assault rifles with telescopic lenses and silencers, and 592 rounds of ammunition have all been returned to him after the court found him not guilty. His staff also were cleared of all wrong-doing.

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ARMS FOR SOMALIA DIVERTED BY SMUGGLERS IN SOUTH AFRICA RAID DEC242010

South African cops at their best: proudly polluting the confiscated forensic evidence with their paw prints…

The two journalists who wrote the original dramatic story were Journalists Nompumelelo Magwaza and Kyle Venktess in the Mercury. The raid on Mr Coetzee’s legal trading-premises was conducted after the SAPS had allegedly heard from the US military at the Pentagon, with claims that ” there is a secretive trade going on between South African business people in Zululand and Somalia’s mineral-rich, self-styled independent Puntland region (pop. 2.4-million).  However, none of these claims could be proven in Pinetown court. PUNTLAND SOMALIAIt’s not known where the Pentagon got their information, but they in turn quote ‘ Somalia’s ‘authorities’ with claims that there was an ‘ethnic-cleansing campaign going on against the Warsangali tribe living in the mineral-rich villages of Puntland,  allegedly being led by warlord Cabdiraxman Faroole – if Western military sources are to be believed.  Mr Coetzee’s weapons shipment – perfectly legal – was somehow targetted by the SAPS after receiving the Pentagon report – but their investigation clearly was haphazard to say the least…

Puntland warlord Cabdiraxman Faroole training more than a thousand soldiers:

Puntland’s warlord is said to be training more than a thousand soldiers: to ‘fight piracy’ as he claims, but Somalia and the Pentagon are accusing him of mounting an ethnic cleansing campaign against local Warsangali tribesmen to make the region secure for an Australian company to mine the region’s 30,000 tons of tin mineral worth about 250 million American dollars. Two villages in particular are being converted into safe mining regions: Galgala and Mijayahan. 

SOMALIA PUNTLAND SA MERCENARY PLANE CONFISCATED SMUGGLING TIN

Somalia’s provisional ‘government’ on October 10 2010 said they had ‘ arrested six Russian crew members” and seized this hired South African plane which they claimed had been ‘carrying military supplies to Puntland’ the Somalian authorities claimed. However it may all have been a terrible mistake… the plane may have been hired by an American documentary-producer to transport a South African TV-crew to cover a news story in Somalia: all the equipment found on board was ‘non-lethal’ … http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/somaliland-holds-plane-taking-illegal-military-supplies-to-puntland-in-violation-of-the-international-arms-embargo-on-somalia/

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Somaliland’s interior minister, Mohamed Abdi Gabose, was adamant however, telling reporters in the regional capital Hargeysa that the cargo plane was ‘in violation of the international arms embargo on Somalia. The aircraft was originally coming from South Africa and Kampala. They asked for permission to land at our airport after experiencing a fuel shortage,” Gabose said. “But it landed before we officially gave our green light and we have seized the plane,” he said, adding that the six crew members were arrested.

  • “This aircraft was heading to Puntland and carried military uniforms as well as other supplies for the newly recruited militiamen,” the minister claimed.

Why is this dismal desert region of Puntland with its 2,4-million tribal people so important?

Puntland is crucial to the multinational task-force which fights the Somalian pirates: most of their naval bases are along its shoreline. The US-government has however been vehemently opposed to Somalia’s use of the UK-based ‘private security company’ Saracen International to help ‘train a dedicated anti-piracy force’. The Pentagon was angered by the move, claiming that it was concerned over ‘the lack of transparency regarding the funding’.

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Afrikaner TV-journalists released by Somalia: mistaken for mercenaries:

Afrikaner journalists Chris Everson_Anton vdMerwe_C_detained Somali jailDec212010_release

The Mercury noted in their same story however that Afrikaner TV-journalists Anton van der Merwe and Chris Everson from Cape Town were released by the Somalian authorities. They were mistaken for mercenaries and were arrested in Somalia on December 10.The two journalists work for SPA, an American documentary news show and had been enroute to cover an independent production in Somalia. They were arrested when boarding a charter aircraft which had been arranged for them by the American company.http://www.capetimes.co.za/newsmen-freed-after-mercenary-mix-up-1.1003550

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Somalian pirates still hold two white South Africans:

Somali pirates have been involved in horrifically cruel kidnappings and hijackings of ships and their crews along the entire East Coast of Africa up to Kenya for the past two decades. As their wealth grew, they have become more sophisticated: purchasing hi-tech equipment and focussing on kidnapping the most lucrative targets: whites on board ships passing the East-African coastline. White captives fetch millions of dollars in ransom and because the pirates also use the news media to put pressure on the families of their captives, they usually get paid very well indeed. The International Maritime Organisation and the World Food Programme have expressed concern over the alarming rise in piracy along the East African coastline. For the past ten years, companies have increasingly been diverting their ships around the Cape of Good Hope, causing soaring shipping coasts and seriously interfering with the shipments of emergency food-aid to famine-struck regions. A multinational coalition naval task force including Russia, France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, the USA and Japan has been set up to patrol the vast stretches of Indian ocean to combat the scourge. Increasingly wealthy Somalian pirates in their high-speed boats have kidnapped thousands of people and hundreds of marine vessels from as far away from Somalia as the Seychelles islands and even in Kenya.

This was a compilation of the Mercury articleand other news sources.

Original story which  fingered Mr Coetzee is located on: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/arms-smugglers-raided-1.1004844

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

2 Responses to Derick Coetzee 40, cleared of all illegal-weapons charges: weapons returned

  1. derick coetzee says:

    I read the article, I AM Derick Coetzee, its convenient that there was no follow up article, with the findings, exonerating me or my staff from any wrong doing, including the fact that all the “illegal” weapons seized were returned to me as they were legal in every respect.

    Another case sensational journalism without responsibility

  2. derick coetzee says:

    Thank you for your update on your blog, may I point out a few facts for your information.

    I am not a firearms dealer, we assist our international clients with legally importing and exporting their weapons into South Africa for the legitimate cause of securing vessels against piracy in the indian ocean. I am 40 years old not 32 and we were cleared of all charges on the 7th of February 2011.

    The fact that all weapons were permited by the police, removed from the vessels by the police was also never mentioned.

    It is refreshing to have such an immediate response with the facts. I will be sure to inform my staff who were arrested for no reason, thrown in police cells and treated like criminals, that a correction has been made.

    We beleive in protecting innocent people earning a living at sea against opportunists and theives, in the same way a lot of South Africans employ the services of private security comanies to protect their homes and family.

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