Cwele’s co-accused denied bail

2010-02-26 00:00

ALLEGED Nigerian drug dealer Frank Nabolisa (42) was refused bail by Judge Sharmaine Balton in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday on the grounds that he is a flight risk.

Dressed in a dark grey suit, Nabolisa sat impassively and unsmiling throughout the proceedings. The judge found his situation is completely different to that of his co-accused, Sheryl Cwele, wife of the minister of State Security, who was released on R100 000 bail after the court ruled she is unlikely to flee.

Balton referred to disputes over Nabolisa’s current immigration status in South Africa, allegations that he has false travel documents; that he owes the SA Revenue Services “at least R3 million” in undeclared taxes; that his alleged common law wife and mother of one of his two children, Natasha Mashiane, is on the run from police for drug charges, which he does not dispute; that he has entered and left South Africa repeatedly without going through the normal channels, as well as the fact that the state appears to have a strong case against him.

The judge said while Nabolisa claims to have lost his South African citizenship as a result of “unfair administrative action” that he will seek to challenge, the state has alleged that Nabolisa is a “prohibited person” who is illegally in South Africa.

Balton said the court is not obliged to make any finding on the issue, but has to take it into account when deciding the issue of bail.

She said the court could not overlook Nabolisa’s history of entering and leaving South Africa undetected, the fact that he could qualify as a prohibited person in this country and that he may not get permanent status here as a result of the allegations against him.

The judge said that from the papers before her, it is possible he will evade trial, particularly in the light of the nature of the charges and the possible sentences he faces, in addition to the two other outstanding cases against him in Gauteng.

The investigating officer, Superintendent Izak Ludick, said in his affidavit Nabolisa must have been aware of the investigation against him in this case as far back as March last year when the story concerning alleged drug mule Tessa Beetge and Cwele reached the newspapers. He immediately left for Nigeria for eight months.

Ludick said Nabolisa’s return to South Africa on November 22 last year was not reflected on the SA Movement Control System.

To date he has not handed over his passport, which allegedly bears a date stamp showing his re-entry at the Lebombo border post and which Ludick believes is a forgery.


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