Bank manager denies leaking confidential info to Panayioutou

2016-10-19 19:26
Christopher Panayiotou (Derrick Spies, News24)

Christopher Panayiotou (Derrick Spies, News24)

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Port Elizabeth – A Nedbank account manager denied on Wednesday that she leaked confidential information to Christopher Panayiotou about activity on his missing wife Jayde’s bank account.

Testifying in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth, Estelle Burger was asked to explain why there were 14 telephone calls between herself and Panayiotou on April 21 last year, the day Jayde went missing.

Prosecutor Marius Stander had established that the calls lasted throughout the day. Panayiotou called her to ask if she could change the cellphone number for the banking activity SMSes sent to a client’s cellphone.

Panayiotou told her he was still at home and not at his computer, so could not do it himself.

That morning, Jayde was kidnapped from outside the Stellen Glen complex on Deacon Road in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth, while waiting for a lift to Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage, where she was a teacher.

Her body was found in a veld in KwaNobuhle, outside the city, the following day. She had been shot three times – twice in the back and once in the head.

Withdrawals from account

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing and killing Jayde. They have pleaded not guilty.

Burger testified that Jayde’s bank account did not fall under her authority, so she was not allowed to help him. She handled the Panayiotou family’s business account for the OK Grocer.

She was woken up that night by a call to her cellphone from a former colleague, Philip Vosloo, with the same request. She said she was not allowed to do it. The next day she approached the branch manager about it and somebody else eventually changed it.

Stander said, up until April 18, there were a maximum of three calls a day between Burger and Panayiotou. Then there was a sudden spike in communication.

Panayiotou’s lawyer, Terry Price, confirmed that his client had told him that she had said she could not do it for him.

He said that at some point on April 21, he was with Jayde’s sister Toni, mother Michelle and father Derrick, when his sister Chloe raised the topic of whether there had been activity on her bank account.

Panayiotou said he had her banking sign-in and password and he had used this to determine that there had been withdrawals from her account already. He did not know where the withdrawals were made.

Wrong photo circulated

Burger confirmed that she told Panayiotou she did not have the authority to access Jayde’s account, but that she would do everything she could to help.

"So out of the kindness of your heart and caring of your bank you gave him the information he asked for?" Price suggested.

Burger denied this.

Earlier, the court heard that police and an investigator from Protea Coin security company had located the ATM in KwaNobuhle where the withdrawals had been made.

In the course of trying to pull a photograph from CCTV footage at the ATMs, police got the photo of the wrong person, and circulated his picture as a suspect.

They discovered that this was due to a discrepancy between the time stamps on the transaction receipts and the CCTV recordings. They eventually found the image of the person who had withdrawn the money from Jayde’s account. The picture was however of such poor quality that it was unusable.

The trial was adjourned to Thursday.


Read more on:    christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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