By Mohammed Arai
Salaamedia on Monday reported that a 62-year-old travel operator had been arrested in Lenasia for allegedly defrauding Muslim pilgrims of hundreds of thousands of rands. Lenasia SAPS spokesperson, Captain Hector Netshivhodza, confirmed to Salaamedia on that same day that the Lenasia police had arrested a 62-year-old female on charges of fraud and corruption, and bribing travel organisations. The Captain also confirmed that the suspect was due to appear in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning. Salaamedia’s Ponty Moletsane was present outside the court yesterday and reported that the suspect did not appear in court yesterday and was due to appear today (Wednesday).
Salaamedia on Wednesday morning was present inside the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court and filmed the accused’s bail application after receiving permission from the presiding officer.
The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) had initially charged Fazila Khan/Seedat (the “accused”) of New Heights Travel & Tours in State v Fazila Khan/Seedat with a schedule 5 offence of the Criminal Procedure Act which involves extortion, fraud, forgery, uttering, theft, etc. involving amounts of more than R500 000,00. The State argued that when the other dockets are eventually added to this matter, this matter would involve an amount in excess of R5 000 000, 00.
The defence attorney argued that it is a schedule 1 offence as the dockets which are currently before the Court does not involve an amount which would classify it as a schedule 5 offence. Schedule 1 offences include theft, fraud, and forgery.
The Court held that the accused is facing a schedule 1 offence and not a schedule 5 offence because the State did not produce written confirmation by the NDPP that the State intends to charge the accused with an offence referred to in schedule 5 or 6 which is required in terms of section 60 (11A) of the Criminal Procedure Act which states: “If the NDPP intends charging any person with an offence referred to in schedule 5 or 6, the NDPP may, irrespective of what charge is noted on the charge sheet, at any time before such person pleads to the charge, issue a written confirmation to the effect that he or she intends to charge the accused with an offence referred to in Schedule 5 or 6.”
Fazila was denied bail today.
This matter has been rolled over to tomorrow for the bail application to proceed in terms of schedule 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
The defence attorney requested to Court that the accused be remanded in custody at the Lenasia SAPS holding cells overnight until her appearance in Court tomorrow. The Court refused the request since there was no written confirmation from the Lenasia SAPS that they could accommodate the accused at their holding cells overnight. The Court, therefore, remanded the accused in custody to the Johannesburg Prison (Sun City).
The defence attorney pointed out to Court that the accused is not keeping well, and the Court ordered that “she should be admitted to the hospital section at the Johannesburg Prison, but her admission thereto would be at the sole discretion of the Department of Correctional Services”.
“In the event that she is admitted to the hospital section at the prison and she is genuinely found to be ill, there is a possibility that she could remain in custody in the hospital section of the prison, and in this instance, she may not be brought to court for her appearance tomorrow due to her ill health,” Mohamed Essack of Essack Attorneys Incorporated told Salaamedia.
Essack added: “It will be interesting to see how this matter plays out in court tomorrow.”
Featured image from Egypt Today via Google.