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Shouts of joy at Panday’s bail

2012-04-19 19:59

Durban - Businessman Thoshan Panday was granted R200 000 bail in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Sharon Marks ordered Panday not to communicate with any member of the South African police, unless through his attorney. He was not allowed to interfere with any police investigation or State witness.

The decision was greeted by shouts of joy and clapping from his family.

Panday and Captain Aswin Narainpershad face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, incitement to commit fraud, and corruption.

R2m bribe

They allegedly offered R1m to Captain Kevin Stephen to help them generate false invoices worth R15m for submission to the SA Police Service, from December 2011 to March 2012.

At the time of his arrest early in April, he was out on R100 000 bail in a case where he is accused of trying to pay a R2m bribe to KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss, Major-General Johan Booysen.

The State had argued that bail should be denied because Panday had the means to interfere with witnesses, and that there were no exceptional circumstances for him to get bail.

Panday's lawyers had said the State's assertion that he would interfere with witnesses was based on unproved allegations. It was a point that Marks, in handing down her decision agreed with, saying the State had provided no evidence to prove he had interfered with witnesses.

There was also no evidence that Panday had violated the conditions attached to his R100 000 bail, she said.

Back in court on July 26

Any assertion by the State that he had the “propensity to commit crime” had to be proven. Since Panday had no previous convictions, this could not be said to be the case.

Referring to the State's argument that bail should not be granted to prevent Panday from committing further crimes, Marks said: “Bail legislation can never be viewed as a punitive or deterrent measure.”

She said minimum sentences upon conviction provided deterrence and punishment.

Panday is facing investigations in at least four cases, including the allegation that he attempted to bribe Booysen. He is being investigated for racketeering and fraud worth R60m involving a syndicate, and for insurance fraud.

Panday was ordered to return to court on July 26.