Magistrate denies bail for alleged kidnappers

2014-11-20 00:00

TWO alleged members of an international syndicate responsible for kidnapping KZN businessman Mohsin Patel (25) for ransom last year failed in an appeal for bail yesterday.

Advocate Louis Barnard had urged Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Jerome Mnguni to grant bail to Pakistani nationals Khalit Amin (35) and Atif Seem Cheema (32), who are among seven accused charged with kidnapping Patel in Himeville last July and demanding a R1 million ransom.

It was reported at the time of the kidnapping that Patel’s family, who own a supermarket in Himeville, paid a sum of R100 000 but he was not returned. Subsequently police and private investigators found and freed him from a house on the South Coast where he’d been imprisoned for 22 days in chains.

After considering the arguments for and against bail yesterday, Judge Mnguni said he agreed with the Himeville magistrate that Amin and Cheema were a flight risk and that their release on bail was not in the interests of justice.

State advocate Marshall Zulu told the court there was a strong case against both men. One of the allegations against Amin is that he rented the house where Patel was held prisoner and he allegedly also gave Patel’s family a bank account number in which to deposit ransom money.

Both men are from Pakistan and have no fixed assets in this country.

Zulu said Cheema uses two names, Asif Cheema or Naseem Cheema, and he allegedly gave false information to the investigating officer at the time of his arrest.

He said taking into account the men face possible imprisonment for 15 years if convicted, they would be tempted to flee.

Barnard had argued that it was unfair that two other accused in the case — both policemen — were given bail, and the others not. He submitted that Cheema and Amin are both permanent residents of South Africa, even though they are Pakistani nationals.

The other accused in the trial, which is due to start in the regional court in January next year, are Nadeem Hossein (35) Sikander Akurter (35), Nasir Ali (24), Jashandra Supal (42) and Nhlanhla Mkhize (30).

Supal and Mkhize are on bail.

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