Suspects found with ink-stained bank notes

2016-03-08 13:27
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Pietermaritzburg - Police recovered ink-stained bank notes at the homes of two of the four men who are charged with a R332 000 robbery at Capitec Bank in the city.

This allegation emerged on Monday during the bail application by the four men.

One of them is Velaphi Milton Sibiya of Umlazi, and the other is Nkosinathi Sibisi of Mpumalanga township.

Magistrate Y. Khuzwayo asked state prosecutor Patti David to clarify if police had done tests to establish if the notes they had found — a total of R41 900 — could be forensically linked to the cash box taken during the Capitec Bank robbery in question.

David said the notes had been sent away for testing by the police forensic laboratory but the results are not yet available. She added that she could confirm this because the information “is in the docket”.

Attorney Phumlani Fakude, who represents Sibiya, said his client “categorically denies” the money was dyed.

In his affidavit which was read in court, Sibiya said the money found in his house (R40 000) belonged to him and was money he had received from stokvel friends.

The two other men charged in the case are Thembani Dongwe (29) and Thandinkosi Ngema (38) of Imbali.

All four accused said they want to be released on bail, and their lawyers argued there was no danger that they would abscond or would interfere with the state’s only witness — an alleged accomplice or so-called “204” witness in the case.

The defence submitted that the case against the four men is “weak” because it is based almost solely on the evidence of the single accomplice witness.

They said the state could put the witness into a witness protection programme instead of denying the accused their “right to liberty”.

The state is opposing bail for the men on grounds that the charges are very serious, that they face minimum sentences which may tempt them not to stand their trial, and alleges the evidence against them is in fact strong.

The court was told that all four men have previous convictions. Sibiya was found guilty of theft in 1996 and paid an admission of guilt fine; Sibisi was found guilty previously of fraud and theft of a motor vehicle; Dongwe has a previous conviction for possession of an unlicensed firearm, and Ngema was convicted of armed robbery in 2008.

Ngema was sentenced in that case to 15 years’ imprisonment and admitted in his affidavit to court that he was released on parole last year.

The magistrate said she wants more information about the conditions under which he was released on parole before giving judgment in the bail application on March 16.

According to the state’s charge sheet, the accused are charged with “putting a gun to the back of the head” of security guard Mphiliseni Khawula and robbing him of a cash box containing R332 000 on February 8. The robbery took place when Khawula and a colleague from G4S Cash Solutions were delivering a large sum of money to Capitec Bank at Symons Centre in the CBD.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court

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