Valuable Pierneef painting thief convicted

PRETORIA – Ricardo Mettler (43), has been found guilty by the Bloemfontein High Court on Thursday for theft, money laundering and fraud.
This follows a trial with regard to the disappearance of the valuable Pierneef painting from the Provincial Government’s OR Tambo building in Free State during 2018.
The Hawks’ Commercial Crime Investigation resulted in Mettler a former Free State premier Ace Magashule’s ex-driver and bodyguard being summoned to appear at the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court on 4 March 2020, and the matter was consequently transferred to the High court.
The unyielding Investigation determined that Mettler stole and handed the Pierneef painting over to a businessman, who then went on to have the piece evaluated by Strauss and Co, from where the alarm was raised as it was identified as the Provincial Government’s asset valued at approximately R8 million.
The court has found Mettler guilty on four counts as charged and he was let of the hook for count 5 – Contravention of National Heritage Act as no evidence was led on this count.
The case has been postponed to 15 December for a report of a Social worker regarding his child and sentencing.

Source: South African Police Service

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