Multimillionaire local businessman EV Krull yesterday told the East London Regional Court he was stunned when he found more than 300 of his Krugerrand coins worth R5.2-million missing from the vault of an East London bank.
The 82-year-old businessman was testifying on the first day of the R5.2-million theft trial of former East London Oxford Street Nedbank branch business manager Kevin Kaschula.One gold Krugerrand coin is valued at R175 00, and he told the court he had stored more than 700 Krugerrand coins at the bank.
The day began with Kaschula, also a prominent East London businessman, pleading not guilty before presiding magistrate Ignatius Kitching.
State prosecuting advocate Wayne Jafta called Krull to the stand to testify about the circumstances surrounding the Krugerrand coins and subsequent disappearance.
Krull said he bought 400 Krugerrands before the 1994 democratic dispensation after he feared the county might be plunged into civil war and wanted to use the coins to flee the country with members of his family.
“I decided to invest in gold Krugerrand when I saw the new government coming to power and [Eugene] Terre’Blanche running around with a rifle.
“I thought we were going to be in a civil war. I bought the coins in case we had to leave the country.
“I bought 300 of them and kept them in a strongroom in my office. I [then] decided there were too many to keep and I went to the bank manager André Muller.”
Krull said after he had entered into an agreement with Nedbank he bought more than 400 additional Krugerrand coins from Nedbank by the end of 1995.
“The coins were kept in a first aid kit with two steel handles on the side inside a Nedbank vault and every time I [went] to the bank I [would] be accompanied by two ladies who had their keys.
“One lady [would] open a door that locked behind us, and another lady [would] use her key to open the second door that also locked behind us.
“When we got to the vault the one lady [would] use her key and I [would] use my key to open the safety deposit box.”
Krull said he went to the bank six times and stopped going there shortly after 1995.
Krull said on his 80th birthday in May 2015 he asked his older son Frank Krull to accompany him to the bank because he wanted to show him where he kept his Krugerrands.
Krull said he had called Kaschula, who had succeeded Muller, to make an appointment.
Krull said he battled for three months with Kaschula to get an appointment to visit the bank.
“We finally got an appointment and I took my son and two locksmiths to the bank because I had lost my key.
“When we got to the vault one of the locksmiths said the safety deposit box had recently been tampered with,” Krull said, adding they had drilled the box open to find the first aid kit with the coins missing.
“We found a brown petty cash box in there with 320 coins.
“I got disturbed; Kaschula was there. There were about 300 to 400 coins missing and Frank took over from there,” Krull said.
He said a few weeks later Kaschula called the Krull family and said he had found another box containing 80 coins that belonged to them.
“The family went and fetched the coins, launched a grievance with the bank and opened a case with the police.”
The trial continues on Thursday