Prosecution opposes bail for trio accused of cloning bank cards

2010-12-29 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG magistrate has been urged not to grant bail to three men arrested last month following an alleged attempt to fraudulently buy a motorcycle and a leather jacket using a cloned bank card and false identity document.

Investigating officer Alistair Farrington told magistrate Divesh Mootheram yesterday there is evidence that the three accused were operating as a syndicate.

The court heard that police recovered 12 bank cards, several of which were “cloned” or had been tampered with, according to an analysis by the banks.

One of the accused, Kenneth Phoswa (24) abandoned his bid for bail yesterday. Farrington continued to oppose the granting of bail to Mthobisi Collin Kubheka (21) and Siyabonga Mhlongo (22), saying he believes they might abscond.

The three face 36 counts, including fraud and contravening the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (Rica) and the Electronic Transactions Act.

Farrington said he also fears that the men could commit further crimes if granted bail since they have access to cloned bank cards.

Responding to a defence submission that Kubheka does not have a passport, Farrington said that when he was arrested Kubheka had three identity books with different identity numbers and names as well as various bank accounts in different names. “If he could obtain three different identity books, I’m sure he could obtain a passport.”

Farrington said he could not dispute that Mhlongo worked as a taxi driver or that he was hired to drive his two co-accused on the day of the allegedly fraudulent transaction at Ekerold Yamaha that led to their arrest. However, police also found four bank cards at his home, including two cloned cards. The bail application will continue on January 6.

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