Drug accused denies charges

2010-02-13 00:00

NIGERIAN-Born Frank Nabolisa, who stands accused of drug trafficking with cabinet minister’s wife Sheryl Cwele, has denied allegations that he ever fled South Africa or re-entered the country “surreptitiously”, as alleged by the prosecution.

When Cwele took her seat alongside Nabolisa in the dock yesterday she barely glanced at him. But after the case adjourned she shook his hand as they parted.

Nabolisa maintains in an affidavit filed in support of a bail application to be argued on February 25, that he is a South African citizen, but that his citizenship was withdrawn last year when he angered his South African ex-wife, who then told Home Affairs they had never married.

Nabolisa states that he came to South Africa 15 years ago on a refugee permit and married a South African, Samantha Marzvoli, on November 25,1999. They have a child together, but divorced in 2005.

He has since met another South African woman, Natasha Mashiane, to whom he is married under customary law and with whom he has another child.

Nabolisa claims that when he stopped paying his ex-wife (Marzvoli) money in 1999 she became angry and approached the Home Affairs Department and informed them that they were never married. “In view of the above the department of Home Affairs decided to withdraw my status as a citizen in the republic,” said Nabolisa.

Nabolisa said he was advised by his lawyers that in terms of the Immigration Act he was “at risk” by residing in SA and should rather leave until an application had been lodged with the high court to set aside the decision by Home Affairs to withdraw his SA citizenship.

He was told that having left the RSA he would be entitled to apply from abroad for what was termed an “investors permit” in view of his financial interests and emotional ties in South Africa. “I was advised further … I would be required to raise a considerable sum of money to qualify for such a permit,” he said.

He said on the advice of his attorney he left SA on March 20 last year and returned to Nigeria. He re-entered the country legally via Mozambique on November 22 last year and said he “vehemently denies” that he did so “surreptitiously” .

He said he is not a flight risk as he has substantial assets in South Africa, which he considers his home.

Nabolisa said he co-owns three business entities. He has a 50% share in Club Do It All, a Pretoria nightclub and gaming facility; Frank Nabal Enterprises CC; and Zennebo Bottle Store CC in Boksburg.

He is also a member of two other businesses, Figaro Cosmetics CC, and White Lion Trading 15, which is a hotel/bar and night club.

In addition he buys and renovates houses for resale. He currently owns four properties, of which three are let to tenants. The fourth is a house in Roodepoort that he has just built and where he intends to live.

He said he will plead not guilty.

The state is to file replying papers by February 19.

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