Ricardo Cornelius Gerhardus Mettler (43) a former personal security officer attached to the office of the Free State Premier appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Wednesday, 10 March 2021 where he was convicted and sentenced for theft, fraud and contravention of the justices of peace and commissioners of oath.
Mettler’s conviction is in connection with an incident which took place during March 2018 where he stole a Pierneef Painting from the Premier’s office at OR Tambo building in Bloemfontein.
The estimated value of the painting was approximately R8 million. The matter was then reported to the police and a case was handed over to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation in Bloemfontein. The said painting consequently seized by the Hawks at the auctioneers in Gauteng.
On Wednesday, 29 January 2020 Mettler was served with summonses to appear in court. He then made several follow up appearances until his recent conviction. The court has sentenced Mettler to 15 years imprisonment for theft and fraud. He was also sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for contravention of justices of peace and commissioners of oath (making false statement in an affidavit). Mettler will serve 16 years direct imprisonment.
The Provincial Head Major General K Moodley applauded the team for the dedication they displayed during the investigation which ultimately brought the perpetrator to book