Accused teacher in court

2016-02-12 12:00
Vindra Jaickaran after she shaved her head in support of raising awareness about cancer.

Vindra Jaickaran after she shaved her head in support of raising awareness about cancer. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Former school teacher Vindra Jaickaran (47) bowed her well-groomed head when she appeared in court for the first time on Thursday charged with defrauding Cowan House school of over R2 million.

She was granted bail of R10 000.

Jaickaran made the news in November last year when parents at the school reacted angrily to revelations that the popular teacher was under investigation for allegedly misappropriating money from the school.

Claims were also made that she had conned pupils and colleagues into thinking she had cancer and that she had only four months to live.

Parents alleged hosted fundraisers for her treatment and for her wedding.

One angry parent told The Witness at the time that the children had been asked to pray for Jaickaran only to find out that she does not have cancer and “it was a big lie”.

The cancer allegation does not however form part of the fraud charges currently facing Jaickaran.

She is charged with a total of 73 counts of fraud totalling R2 099 290,58.

Her advocate, Shane Matthews, told the court that Jaickaran was dismissed by Cowan House, and that she is currently in the process of selling her home in a bid to compensate the school for any losses.

However, Jaickaran did not say in an affidavit filed in support of her bail application if she intends to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against her.

Her attorney, Andre Chetty, stressed however that Jaickaran has “fully co-operated” with the police investigation in the case. “We need to consult further with our client before she can plead to the allegations. We still have to study the docket and decide how to approach the matter,” he told The Witness after the case.

The offences with which Jaickaran is charged were allegedly committed between September 2013 and September 2015.

Warrant Officer Bradley Swift said in an affidavit it is alleged that on the 73 occasions detailed in the charge sheet Jaickaran allegedly submitted false invoices to the school.

This resulted in the school making payments to bank accounts in Jaickaran’s name or accounts that were linked to her.

He said he was not opposed to her release on bail, however, because he did not believe she was a flight risk or that she would interfere in any way with the investigation or other state witnesses.

She was “currently unemployed” but had ties to the Pietermaritzburg community.

Swift said Jaickaran had complied with all requests made by the police for interviews.

He suggested bail of R10 000 would be appropriate, but said the decision would rest with the magistrate.

Matthews told the court Jaickaran lives in Hilton, is married and has three grown-up children. She is at present undergoing treatment for depression.

She has lived in KwaZulu-Natal all her life.

Matthews said that Jaickaran does not have any previous convictions.

Although he said she was convicted of shoplifting in 1998 the conviction was later set aside.

Tall, slender and well-groomed in high-heeled white sandals and a navy pants suit, Jaickaran kept her eyes averted and her head bowed as she stood in the accused’s dock.

Her case was postponed until March 7. State prosecutor Esmeralda Royappen said the matter will be transferred to the Commercial Crimes Court in Durban for trial but a trial date still has to be set.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  teacher  |  con  |  court

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