POWER DRUNK: Midrand police have allegedly failed to return a businessman’s liquor stock, even after a court could not find any wrongdoing on the man’s part. Picture: Herbert Matimba
A Midrand businessman is hopping mad after the local police refused to return about R200000 worth of alcohol they had confiscated from him, even though criminal charges against him have been withdrawn.
Businessman Hogbo Huang, who runs a restaurant in the Midrand CBD, said police confiscated the liquor including top end whisky like Johnnie Walker (red and black), Jameson and J&B during a raid in August last year.
“They charged me with running a brothel, possession of drugs and employing a minor but all those charges were withdrawn in the Midrand Magistrate’s Court last month. Now I’m supposed to get my liquor, they are giving me the run-around,” Huang said.
He also claims that he is still receiving threats from the police to shut down his restaurant.
“I need that liquor to sell to my patrons and be able to pay my bills and employees. Some of my employees only got half of their salaries last month because there was not enough stock to sell,” he said.
Huang’s lawyer, Calvin Maile, said the police don’t have a case against his client.
“They are pushing a hidden agenda because even if those charges were to stand they don’t warrant the place to be closed,” he said.
Midrand police station commissioner Col Steven Moodley said they have not returned the liquor because police are lodging an appeal against the court’s decision. “We have sent the docket to a senior state prosecutor to review the case because we are optimistic that we have a good case. The businessman was using a shebeen permit to operate his restaurant,” he said.
Moodley said the liquor is at the station and safe.
In a statement, the Gauteng Liquor Board acting deputy director in the compliance unit, Mpumelelo Wauchope, said that the restaurant had a valid liquor licence and they had never received any complaint regarding a contravention of the Gauteng Liquor Act.
“According to our records the licence holder has paid annual renewal fees for years 2012 and 2013,” Wauchope said.
The Gauteng Liquor Forum secretary, Linda Madida, said scores of their members were encountering similar problems with the police.