The owner of a struggling Johannesburg restaurant told a judge he bought a R1.8m Maserati to improve his credit record. But with the SUV missing, a debt that has ballooned to R2.7m and an overdraft rejection letter on his desk, Charles Renney failed to convince Acting Judge Jenine Khan to throw out WesBank's repossession application, notes a TimesLIVE report. 

The owner of the Ocean Basket in Rosebank now has to produce the Maserati Levante he bought in May 2019 and hand it over to the finance company.

But he claimed to have no idea how to find the car.

He told the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) that four months after buying the vehicle and signing up for six years of R34 000 monthly instalments, he handed the vehicle and its keys to someone he knew only as ‘Bongani’.

Bongani said he would sell the car and hand the proceeds to WesBank, said Renney, but he now believed the man and his partner, ‘Abdul’, were part of a fraud syndicate involving staff at WesBank.

Khan said he had no evidence, adding that Renney and his business, Mazel Foods, may well be the victims of fraud ‘but this is a result of their own actions and not (WesBank's)’.

Renney gave the court a lengthy explanation for his woes – including the claim that WesBank did not conduct a credit assessment or ask for financial documentation before granting the loan, and that the bank – through an employee – ‘played an integral role in the fraudulent scheme devised by the syndicate which ultimately led to the theft of the vehicle and loss of the selling price’.

He claimed to have been coerced into buying the car and taking the loan based on the promise of an overdraft facility.

But Khan said that by relying on the say-so of Abdul and Bongani – ‘individuals of questionable motives and integrity, who are now sought by the police for the theft of the vehicle’ – Renney had a hopeless case.

‘There is no evidence ... to substantiate the claim that (WesBank) is part of a criminal syndicate,’ she said, according to the TimesLIVE report. 

Khan said that if Renney did not hand over the Maserati, the sheriff should repossess it.

She postponed WesBank's claim for damages pending the return of the vehicle.

Full TimesLIVE report