Majali to spend the weekend behind bars

2010-10-23 08:04

Controversial businessman Sandile Majali will have to spend the weekend behind bars until his bail application gets under way on Tuesday at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg.

The application was postponed yesterday because the state had insufficient information to amend the charges being brought against Majali, who was at one point also implicated in the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal in Iraq.

The businessman faces a fraud charge for allegedly hijacking a mining company. Money laundering and additional fraud counts might be added to the charge sheet, the court heard.

Majali’s lawyer, Dumisa Ntsebeza, argued that the case was unjust due to a lack of evidence.

“He [Majali] is a man who has investments in this country. This court case is unjust on the basis of little evidence.”

Majali appeared in the dock with four others: Haralambos Sferopoulous, Stephan Khoza, Elvis Bongani Ndala and Linda Welencia Dlamini.

The state claims that two of the accused – Sferopoulous and Khoza – were patients at the Sterkfontein mental institution and may not be mentally able to stand trial. The state said their mental capacity, as well as that of Ndala, would have to be evaluated.

The state contends that Khoza escaped from the institution and that Sferopoulous was still meant to be there.

Lawyer Simon Sinosi, representing the four others, said his clients were not “crazy”.

He told the court that the institution had given Sferopoulous six months leave on condition that he report regularly to the facility.

Magistrate Ashlika Ramlaal gave the state seven days to gather relevant information, noting “it was an important factor” in the consideration of bail.

She said mental observation for Sferopoulous, Khoza and Ndala was necessary.

Majali would stay in custody at the Brooklyn police station until October 26. Dlamini was released on R10 000 bail and ordered to report to the Kliptown police station every Monday and Friday.

Outside court, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said this was a unique case because company hijackings were uncommon in South Africa.

“Unfortunately for us, it has the effect of threatening investor confidence ... The stance we are taking is of being aggressive and intensifying the investigation.”

Majali was arrested on Thursday afternoon after an investigation revealed that the directorship of mining company Kalahari Resources had been changed from Brian Amos Mashile and his sister, Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, to a group of eight individuals, including Majali.

He and seven others allegedly removed Kalahari Resources’ directors from the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) database in August.

An urgent interdict was brought before the High Court in Johannesburg last month. The court ruled that Cipro must reinstate the siblings as directors of the company.

Kalahari Resources owns a 40% stake in Kalagadi Manganese, the mining company developing an R11 billion manganese mine and sinter plant in the Northern Cape, as well as a smelter at Coega.

The Industrial Development Corporation owns 10% of Kalagadi Manganese, while steel producer ArcelorMittal owns the remaining 50% stake.

Majali came into the public eye after his role in the so-called Oilgate saga that saw him “donate” R11 million of PetroSA’s funds to the ANC ahead of the 2004 elections.

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