Accused in Siam Lee case also faces fraud charges, court hears

2018-04-17 17:16
Siam Lee. (Image via Facebook)

Siam Lee. (Image via Facebook)

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The man accused of abducting and murdering Durban North escort Siam Lee is also facing dozens of fraud charges, it emerged during his ongoing bail application on Tuesday.

The man cannot be named because one of the 16 charges he faces is an unrelated rape and the law stipulates that he may only be identified once he pleads.

He was arrested at his Hillcrest home two weeks after Lee, 20, was allegedly abducted outside the "brothel" in Margaret Maytom Drive, where she had apparently worked with her mother since matriculating at a local private school.

Her burnt body was discovered in the Midlands and was initially identified through a lip-ring and toenail varnish.

In his evidence during the bail hearing before Durban Magistrate Mohamed Motala, the man said he would plead not guilty to the charges. He would not go into the merits of the case.

READ: PI company under scrutiny in Siam Lee accused bail application

Instead, he strongly criticised private investigator Brad Nathanson, who secured his arrest, claiming he had been beaten and his home had been searched without a warrant.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu, it emerged that he was the owner of a biofuel company, which has been under investigation by the "Green Scorpions". On Tuesday he was served with a summons to appear in court in June for "offensive odours" and for operating without an atmospheric emission licence.

The prosecutor also read out details of eight other fraud charges which were pending against him, which relate to "distribution" agreements he signed with proposed agents who paid between R5 000 and R20 000.

In addition, he was facing a civil claim of more than R6m, which related to a dispute over premises he leased.

Marimuthu said all of these matters could make him a flight risk.

'I am an honest businessman'

But the man shot back: "I am not a person who runs away from justice.

"One of the reasons I need bail is so that I can sort out my business affairs."

He said the fraud charges had been laid against him while he was in custody.

"I am an honest businessman. I am involved in renewable energy, which is the future of South Africa. I had simple business contracts with them. Others laid similar charges (last year) and when they got to court, they were kicked out.

"This is all a publicity stunt. Why would all these people suddenly lay charges against me?"

READ: Accused's alleged shoddy business dealings emerge in Siam Lee case

He also denied that, when a police officer had gone to Westville Prison to take him to Germiston for a court appearance relating to one of the fraud matters, he had refused to go.

He said the manager of Medium A prison would back him up on this.

The man also claimed the policeman had handcuffed him and told him to "behave" because the key for the cuffs was in Johannesburg.

"They were intending on taking me cuffed all the way to Johannesburg in the back of a van," he said.

He said his attorneys had not been informed of anything about the trip. He had gone to get some food and his personal effects and when he returned, the policeman had gone.

The bail application continues this week and the investigating officer is expected to testify.

Read more on:    siam lee  |  courts

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