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MBABANE – Sahi Investments (Pty) Ltd will have to return the over 100 imported cars that were detained by the Eswatini Revenue Authority (ERS).

The Supreme Court of Eswatini yesterday dismissed Sahi Investments (Pty) Ltd appeal against the High Court decision where they were ordered to abide by the order of August 20, 2021, for the return of the vehicles, having failed to purge their contempt. They were also sentenced to each pay a fine of E300 000, and it was against this order that Sahi Investments (Pty) Ltd filed an appeal. In the appeal, Sahi Investments (Pty) Ltd was the appellant, with  its directors Umer Ziyad, Imitiaz Ahmad, Ahmed Imitiaz Raaza and Ahmed Iftikhar. ERS was the respondent in the matter.


In his judgement, Supreme Court Judge Sabelo Matsebula said ERS went to the first appellant’s premises, which also rented out a portion of its premises to Extreme Cars Investments, and attached 137 cars through Detention Notice 1638 and locked the gates to the premises on April 23, 2021. The reason for the detention order was that the cars were suspected of being imported unlawfully into the country without proper declaration or at all by Extreme Cars Investments, as investigations were in progress. As the owner of the premises, the first appellant moved an urgent application to the High Court for the unlocking of the gates to the premises.

In support of the urgent application to compel ERS to unlock the gates, the 3rd appellant stated in the Founding Affidavit and at paragraph 18 that, “There is also the fact that since the gates are locked, the applicant is unable to post a security guard within the premises and to turn on the lights. “In recent times, the applicant has experienced a number of burglaries where motor vehicle parts and ignition keys were stolen. I fear that unless this matter is heard on an urgent basis, the applicant stands to suffer irreparable harm in that thieves may take advantage and break into the premises.” Matsebula said before the court could finalise the matter, the parties entered and signed a Deed of Settlement wherein the applicant has instituted proceedings against the first respondent to unlock gates and access routes on Plot No. 846, situate in Matsapha Township, Manzini District, Eswatini.


He also said the parties entered and signed a Deed of Settlement, whereas the parties have resolved to settle their claims amicably between themselves and desire that the Supreme Court make this agreement an order. “The gist of the Deed of Settlement is that it was agreed that the First Respondent had unlocked the gates at the Applicant’s premises situated on Plot No. 846 situated in Matsapha Township, Manzini District, Eswatini and will not lock same. The applicant and second respondent are interdicted and restrained by any third party to remove any of the items listed in the Detention Notice and the Inspection List Attached Herein for ease of reference at Plot No. 846 situate in Matsapha Township, Manzini District, Eswatini pending finalisation of the investigations by the First Respondent against the Second Respondent.”

“Should any of the interdicted parties fail to comply with this order and allow the removal of the listed items in any manner, they shall be held to be in contempt of court,” added Matsebula. The first appellant (Sahi Investments) signed the Deed of Settlement on June 4, 2021, and the respondent (Eswatini Revenue Authority) on June 8, 2021. On June 11, 2021, the Deed of Settlement was entered by the High Court as an Order of Court. The roles quickly changed; Eswatini Revenue Authority became an applicant on June 17, 2021, and Sahi Investment and others became respondents on allegations that the court order had been breached by the respondents.


Matsebula added that at paragraph 20 of Sahi’s Founding Affidavit, the Applicant stated, “I am advised and verily believe that on the same day the Deed of Settlement was made an Order of Court at about 1400 hours, the Applicant sent on assignment some officers, Mthokozisi Mdluli and Samkelisiwe Dlamini, to conduct a random check-up on the motor vehicles detained at the First and Second Respondent’s premises.” “I am advised by the legislative customs officers that when they arrived personally at the premises, they discovered that out of the one hundred and thirty seven (137) vehicles as per the detention notice, which were the motor vehicles detained on April 23, 2021, only one vehicle, a black Mercedes, was found parked at the showroom.” After that, an order was issued for the return of the vehicles, having failed to purge their contempt, and they were also sentenced to each pay a fine of E300,000. It was against this order that Sahi Investments (Pty) Ltd. filed an appeal. Judge Matsebula sat with Judge Judith Currie and Judge Magrieet Van Der Walt.