Police now believe that the kidnapping of the Moti children may have been an act of revenge by an aggrieved party in a complex illicit money transfer deal that went wrong.

Zia (15), Alaan (13), Zayyad (11) and Zidan Moti (seven) were abducted in October and made headlines after the assailants demanded a ransom of R50m.

A source privy to the investigation claimed the police had been informed that R40m of ‘hot money’ had been transferred through an informal money transfer system called Hawala. However, the funds did not reach its intended destination abroad and the people who made the transfer could not open a case because the money was illegal.

City Press says it has learnt that two days after the brothers were kidnapped, their uncle, Mohammed, flew to SA from London. He appeared to know the kidnappers and, immediately after his arrival, he cut off everyone the family had hired, including private investigators, the hostage negotiators and the police.

‘He handled the negotiations himself from then. That was the last time the police had meaningful co-operation from the family,’ the source said.

City Press understands that, prior to the release of the boys, and before Mohammed returned, the family tried to access R15m in cash from a Polokwane Absa branch to put towards the demanded ransom.

As previously reported, police confirmed that an interdict – instituted by the boys’ father, Naazim – was presented to police which meant they could not ‘go anywhere close to the children’ or interview them or any family members.

According to the City Press report, Kyle Condon, CEO of D&K Management Consultants & Investigations, said the interdict raises eyebrows and has called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to stop this from setting a precedent for criminals.

Cele previously said the stalling of the investigation is being regarded as ‘non-co-operation, rather than the obstruction of justice’. 

A report on the News24 site notes that the Moti family yesterday denied claims that they applied for an interdict against the police and they thanked the public for its support.

‘Your strength carried us through a time no parent should have to endure. Please understand why we have been silent. Since our four sons were returned to us, we have been living in fear of reprisal which could be caused by speaking out and drawing any further attention to ourselves,’ the statement said.

According to the family, their sudden departure from the country was beyond their control and a ‘reluctant one’.

Full City Press report

Full report on the News24 site