Mike Hale: Setback in fraud case

2015-08-03 09:14
Fugitive Mike Hale at his rural idyll home in Cornwall.

Fugitive Mike Hale at his rural idyll home in Cornwall. (Mike Thomas/Wayne Perry)

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Pietermaritzburg - Six years after Pietermaritzburg investment broker Mike Hale skipped the country with R20 million belonging to his clients, the extradition order to bring him back to face the law here is still not finalised.

The Witness can reveal that the case has suffered another setback, in that the investigating officer in the matter has resigned from the police.

The case has evoked outrage from investors who lost money in July 2009 when he left because the matter is taking so long for him to be returned to South Africa to face justice.

Hale faces 45 counts of fraud here after he allegedly cleaned out the company’s accounts, forcing the eventual closure of the business he operated, MJCM Brokers.

He never returned, leaving clients who had invested their life savings with him all but destitute. Client files disappeared or were destroyed when Hale left.

His wife, Charma Hale, alleged that he had also stolen her inheritance and the money she invested in policies.

Responding to questions from The Witness recently, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) “had several queries” regarding the extradition order for Mike Hale “which needed to be attended to”.

He said the investigating officer then attended to most of the queries, but has now resigned from the SAPS as of June 30.

Mulaudzi said the case docket has now been assigned to another investigating officer to finalise the outstanding queries from the DPP.

He said all the queries needed to be addressed before the case can be taken back to the DPP and that the last meeting with the DPP was on February 27.

Mulaudzi said a copy of docket and all additional statements obtained are being forwarded to the new investigating officer.

“This office relies on Interpol and the DPP regarding the extradition order. The DPP’s office will not address the extradition order until all queries have been addressed,” said Mulaudzi.

He added that an investigating officer took over the docket recently and “still has to fully familiarise himself with the case”.

“The extradition process is under way and we are not in a position to divulge any operational matters nor his whereabouts, as it will compromise our investigations.”

The Witness previously reported that one pensioner was hospitalised after reports that Hale had stolen her money. The 73-year-old widow lost everything after she invested her life savings with him.

Another elderly couple, who had moved from Pietermaritzburg to the UK, lost more than R700 000, the proceeds from the sale of their home in Pietermaritzburg

A 72-year-old man was reported to have lost his life savings of R100 000 and another, 71, lost R120 000.

July 9, 2009, Mike Hale leaves South Africa purportedly for a holiday in the UK.

In 2010, Hale’s photograph and a warrant for his arrest were issued and forwarded to Interpol to establish his whereabouts.

McIntosh Polela, then spokesperson for the Hawks, told The Witness in October 2011 that they had applied for a warrant for Hale’s arrest. He was then believed to be in either the UK, Spain or Australia.

“As soon as Interpol confirms a residential address for Hale, we will go through proper channels and apply for [his] extradition,” Polela said at the time.

In July 2013, The Witness reported that an extradition application had been made and that the process had begun to get Hale back to the country.

Also in July 2013 The Witness revealed that UK journalists had tracked Hale down after pupils at a school he was teaching at Googled his name and came across past Witness articles about the 45 counts of fraud he faces here.

Hale was photographed at his home in Cornwall by the British press, living with a woman in a converted barn on a farm.

In December 2013, Hale said in an interview with the BBC that he was innocent of the allegations but would not return to South Africa.

At the time, The Witness asked Paul Ramaloko of the Hawks why Hale had not yet been arrested on the allegations against him. Ramaloko said processes were in place for his extradition and that the police knew where he was.

“He remains a priority to us.”

When asked when Hale would be arrested, Ramaloko said police could not “put a deadline on it”.

Hale said those who are saying they have lost their life savings should talk to those who were left behind.

“It wasn’t me. I don’t have it [their money]. I never took it from them at all. That’s all I’m prepared to say,” he said.

In July 2014 a woman who lost her life savings to Hale, who asked not to be named, said she called police for an update on the investigation and was told that “they can’t find him anymore”.

In July 2014 his wife, Charma Hale, revealed that she was still waiting for police to interview her

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fraud  |  crime

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