Alleged ‘go-between’ in doctor Sewram’s murder denied bail, police fear ‘sinister motives’ at play

2013-09-03 00:00

POLICE investigating the murder of Pietermaritzburg doctor Bhavish Sewram fear that someone with a “sinister motive” provided the funding for a bail application by alleged “go- between” Wiseman Mfaniseni Nxumalo.

Nxumalo was yesterday denied bail by regional court magistrate Jennifer Anthoo.

On trial are businessman Rajivee Soni (30), ex-policeman Brian Treasurer (52), alleged hired shooter Sabelo Advocate Dlamini (24) and Nxumalo (34).

Soni is out on R100 000 bail and Treasurer on R50 000 bail.

In an affidavit opposing Nxumalo’s bail yesterday, Warrant Officer Yoga Naidoo expressed concern that if Nxumalo was released he might be “at risk”.

He said after all four accused in the case had been arrested he had become aware that there was a view among some of them that Nxumalo had co-operated and might be used as a witness against them.

“In fact I was asked on more than one occasion whether the state case involved the use of section 204 (accomplice) witnesses,” he said.

Naidoo said further he was “astonished” when he was told that Nxumalo had instructed an advocate and an attorney to represent him at his bail hearing.

“I cannot imagine that he has the funds to facilitate this. I queried this with his wife recently and she informed me that she is unaware of who is funding his legal representation but it is certainly not her,” said Naidoo.

He said because of this he was concerned that “there may be parties other than the accused” who are interested in having him released on bail.

“If that is so then I can only see the reason as being sinister,” he said.

Naidoo also said he was opposing Nxumalo’s release because he was a flight risk.

He said the state case against Nxumalo is “overwhelming” and he faced a long term of imprisonment.

The evidence against him includes witnesses who will testify that Nxumalo approached them before the murder and offered them payment to kill Sewram.

He also offered them the use of a gun that he possessed to shoot the doctor. After the murder he allegedly accompanied the shooter to a traditional healer to be “cleansed”.

The firearm — which has been ballistically linked to the murder — was found in Nxumalo’s possession soon after the killing.

Naidoo said Nxumalo had co-operated fully with police after his arrest, culminating in a statement he made to a magistrate. However, the version Nxumalo gave to the magistrate is allegedly a “watered-down version” of his own involvement, which is contradicted by the objective evidence such as the ballistics evidence, and the affidavits of at least three witnesses.

Nxumalo’s advocate, Brad Osborne (instructed by attorney Udesh Vather), conceded that the state appeared to have a strong case against Nxumalo, but argued that he had “nowhere to run” and would stand trial.

He said Nxumalo was poor and his only family and assets — consisting of a shack home in Copesville, a car and furniture estimated to be worth R100 000 — are in Pietermaritzburg.

Osborne also submitted that the issue of “poverty versus wealth” should not play a role in bail applications. He said in this case, the accused fingered by the state as being the “architects” of the murder — Soni and Treasurer — were given bail almost immediately, but Nxumalo’s bail was opposed.

The trial has been set down for March 3 in the Pietermaritzburg high court, state advocate Sandesh Sankar said yesterday. He said the accused would be served with indictments at their next court appearance on October 4. In an affidavit opposing Nxumalo’s bail yesterday, Warrant Officer Yoga Naidoo expressed concern that if Nxumalo was released he might be “at risk”.

He said after all (four) accused in the case had been arrested he had become aware that there was a view among some of them that Nxumalo had co-operated and might be used as a witness against them.

“In fact I was asked on more than one occasion whether the state case involved the use of section 204 (accomplice) witnesses,” he said.

Naidoo said further he was “astonished” when he was told that Nxumalo had instructed an advocate and an attorney to represent him (at his bail hearing).

“I cannot imagine that he has the funds to facilitate this. I queried this with his wife recently and she informed me that she is unaware of who is funding his legal representation but it is certainly not her,” said Naidoo.

He said because of this he was concerned that “there may be parties other than the accused” who are interested in having him released on bail.

“If that is so then I can only see the reason as being sinister,” he said.

Naidoo also said he was opposing Nxumalo’s release because he was a flight risk.

He said the state case against Nxumalo is “overwhelming” and he faces a long term of imprisonment.

The evidence against him includes witnesses who will testify that Nxumalo approached them before the murder and offered them payment to kill Sewram.

He also offered them the use of a gun which he possessed to shoot the doctor, and after the murder he allegedly accompanied the shottist to a traditional healer to be “cleansed”.

The firearm - which has been ballistically linked to the murder - was found in Nxumalo’s possession soon after the killing.

Naidoo said Nxumalo had co-operated fully with police after his arrest, culminating in a statement he made to a magistrate. However the version Nxumalo gave to the magistrate is allegedly a ‘watered down version” of his own involvment, which is contradicted by the objective evidence such as the ballistics evidence, and the affidavits of at least three witnesses.

Nxumalo’s advocate, Brad Osborne ( instructed by attorney Udesh Vather) conceded the state appeared to have a strong case against Nxumalo, but argued that he had “nowhere to run” and would stand trial.

He said Nxumalo was poor and his only family and assets - consisting of a shack in Copesville, a car and furniture estimated to be worth R100 000 - are in Pietermaritzburg.

Osborne also submitted that the issue of “poverty versus wealth” should not play a role in bail applications. He said in this case, the accused fingered by the state as being the “architects” of the murder - Soni and Treasurer - were given bail almost immediately but Nxumalo’s bail was opposed.

The trial has been set down for March 3 in the Pietermaritzburg high court, State advocate, Sandesh Sankar said yesterday.

He said the accused would be served with indictments at their next court appearance on October 4.

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