2008-02-27 : Local charity man raided (Baratta saga)

http://www.witness.co.za<br>
newsed@witness.co.za

Moderator: GenMod

2008-02-27 : Local charity man raided (Baratta saga)

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2008-04-14 07:11

Local charity man raided
Witness 27 Feb 2008
Sphumelele Mngoma


A TIP-off received by the South African Police Service´s
Organised Crime Unit yesterday morning led to the raiding of the
Merrivale home of prominent resident Rick Baratta.


Police allegedly searched the house acting on information that
narcotics and illegal firearms were kept at the property. Seven
of the 26 firearms found on his premises were confiscated for
licence verification, police said.


Baratta (77) was born in the U.S., but has lived in SA for about
15 years.


He and his wife Elisabeth are known in the international
community for their involvement in Rotary and community
upliftment projects such as the Sweetwaters Quilt Guild, which
has generated a lot of funding and international interest.


Baratta is a member of the Hilton and Howick Rotary clubs.


The raid comes amid charges of house-breaking and theft laid
against Baratta by a woman he believes to be behind the raid.


Speaking to The Witness, the woman, who did not want to be named
ahead of the court case expected to proceed on Friday, has made
serious allegations of misconduct against him.


She alleged that the 30 women and two men involved in the
Sweetwaters project received little to nothing from the project
and she has since helped draw up a petition with regard to the
allegations.


Baratta told The Witness yesterday that he is a victim of
harassment and vindictiveness.
He said there has been a long history of ill feeling between
himself and the woman, and dismissed all allegations against him
as "blatant lies".


Baratta feels his reputation is at stake and said he is
considering suing for damages.


He said all firearms found in his possession were licensed and
had paperwork on importation.
He said that he had extensive work as a firearms trainer in the
U.S. and in SA, training the SAPS and various other independent
entities such as corporate, casino and school securities.


It is believed that Baratta has in previous years been closely
linked to the Hilton community policing forum. Sources said that
he worked in the U.S. as a policeman before coming to SA as a
consultant for the SAPS.


Baratta was also described as "dynamic" and energetic by
sources.


Rotary district governor elect, Hennie de Bruin, praised
Baratta´s achievements in helping the disadvantaged.


"He has done amazing work in the Sweetwaters community and has
established a crèche, and a quilting project ... As far as any
other things are concerned we take the view that people are
innocent until proven guilty."
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
GOSA
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2008-04-14 07:13

Charity man's firearms all found to be legal
04 Mar 2008 Witness Reporter


http://www.witness.co.za/?showcontent&global[_id]=4625


Police have confirmed that the firearms that were confiscated from the
home of Rick Baratta in a swoop by Organised Crime Unit on Tuesday
last week appear to be all legal.


Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram told The Witness
that the seven firearms taken were all found to be licensed.


He said all documentation that Baratta was unable to produce when the
raid took place has now been verified.


He defended the raid, saying that police received information
pertaining to allegations that there were illegal weapons and
narcotics at Baratta's Merrivale home that was given under oath.
"So we were obliged to act and obtained the search warrant," he said.


Baratta yesterday told The Witness that all his 26 firearms are locked
in a safe for safekeeping. No narcotics were found during the raid.


The raid came amid charges of housebreaking and theft laid against
Baratta by a woman he believes to be behind the raid.


He appeared in court on Friday in connection with the charges, but the
case was adjourned.
Baratta told The Witness last week that he has done extensive work as
a firearms trainer in the U.S. and in South Africa, training the SAPS
and various other independent entities such as corporate, casino and
school security guards.


He is also a fundraiser with Rotary International, and he and his wife
Elizabeth are involved with projects, including the Sweetwaters Quilt
Guild. The woman who made the allegations against Baratta is a member
of the guild.
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
GOSA
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2008-04-14 07:14

Comments on raid
05 Mar 2008
Rick Baratta


I was the subject of your recent front page headline “Local charity
man raidedâ€￾ (The Witness, February 28).


The story below the headline related how my home was raided by officers
of the Organised Crime Unit, in obedience to a warrant issued to search
my home for drugs and illegal firearms. This has been resolved as there
were no drugs, but seven firearms were taken to verify that they were
indeed licensed. This has been established and all my firearms have been
returned. However, since the fact that I was in possession of so many
firearms was publicised I have now stored all of my weapons off the
property except the two that my wife and I always carry. The guns and my
12 large dogs have always provided sufficient security.


I would like to state publicly that the conduct of the officers of the
Organised Crime Unit was beyond reproach. They exhibited professionalism
comparable with that of any of the best Western police departments.
Inspector Lawrence Nxumalo and his men conducted the search in a most
efficient manner and his courtesy was only matched by that of his
superior, Superintendent Johan Meeding.


I also thank The Witness and Sphumelele Mngoma, writer of the story,
for the fair manner in which the story was written.


RICK BARATTA
Merrivale
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
GOSA
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2008-04-14 07:14

http://www.witness.co.za/?showcontent&global[_id]=4869


Shambolic gun records
07 Mar 2008
Wouter de Waal


YOUR article about Rick Baratta (The Witness, February 28) raises a
number of very interesting questions.


First, it turns out that all Baratta's firearms were in fact legal,
but the police did not know this. Why is the onus on Baratta to prove
that the firearms are legal when the police could simply have obtained
a list of his firearms from their computer system? Clearly the records
at the Central Firearms Registry are in a shambles. What is the use of
registering firearms and going through this whole relicensing circus
if the police, who are in charge, don't know whether a given firearm
is in fact licensed?


Second, the police claim that they have a statement under oath
regarding illegal firearms and drugs. Why is the person who committed
this perjury not being held accountable for the cost of the operation
as well as the inconvenience to all concerned?


Last, why is taxpayers' money being wasted like this with no
accountability or even an apology?


WOUTER DE WAAL
Bellville
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
GOSA
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa


Return to The Witness

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron