Wanted businessman lies low

2013-08-10 00:00

A PROMINENT Pietermaritzburg businessman wanted in connection with the murder of a local doctor, Bhavish Sewram (33,) who was gunned down on May 13, lay low at an unknown venue with his family yesterday.

This followed the issuing of a warrant for his arrest on Thursday afternoon.

Although the motive for the doctor’s murder is unknown, rumours abound that it stems from an alleged affair.

Pietermaritzburg lawyer Naren Sangham confirmed yesterday that a warrant of arrest was issued for the businessman on Thursday afternoon, but said he’d already left town with his family for a long weekend away when police descended “unnecessarily” on his house.

Sangham said he has informed the police, as well as deputy director of public prosecutions, Sandesh Sankar, that his client would hand himself over for arrest on Monday morning.

“I think it was the police intention to put him into a cold cell for the entire long weekend. The timing is very interesting,” said Sangham.

“Despite all the earlier undertakings I have given to the authorities stating that my client is happy to co-operate with the investigation and to hand himself over to be interviewed or arrested if needs be, members of the crime intelligence unit went to his house and jumped over the gate in search of him [on Thursday],” he said.

Sangham said the businessman’s sister had called him to tell him that police were there and were jumping over the gate.

“I told her not to let them do that, but instead to open up the house and give them access to search for him if that is what they want to do. The house was then opened and the police went in and searched everywhere for him, but he had already left with his family. They even touched the bonnet of his bakkie and said it was ‘still warm’. So what if it was?” said Sangham.

He said his client did “not make a hasty exit” from his house to avoid the police.

He confirmed to Weekend Witness that he has been in touch with the businessman via a cellphone number that he was not prepared to disclose to anyone, and informed him about the warrant of arrest.

“He knows that he has to be at my office at 8 am on Monday morning and he will be there,” he said.

Sangham said he’d first contacted Brigadier Clifford Marion — who is in charge of the police investigation — and offered his client’s co- operation when rumours started to circulate about the businessman’s impending arrest as far back as July 10.

Sangham said his client denies any involvement in Sewram’s murder and statements that he has taken from him clearly show that far from being the villain of the piece; he is in fact a victim of extortion.

“All the facts will eventually come out,” he said.

Sangham said Sankar had kept his word that he would inform him (Sangham) if a warrant of arrest was issued for his client.

“I will honour my side of the bargain that my client will present himself for arrest at 8 am on Monday morning,” he said.

Sangham said he has further discussed the issue of bail for his client, and understands that the state will not oppose his client’s release on bail on Monday.

The businessman is expected to make his first court appearance in the accused’s dock at the regional court on Monday alongside the alleged gunman, Sabelo Advocate Dlamini (24), alleged “go between” Mfaniseni Wiseman Nxumalo (34) and a former policeman, Brian Treasurer (52), who is accused of transporting the alleged killer to the doctor’s surgery.

Treasurer is on bail of R50 000, but the other accused are currently in custody.

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