Rich mosque accused

2018-10-23 15:30

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One of the accused in the Verulam mosque attack case who is currently seeking bail is a prominent businessman with a turnover of R5 million a month.

Farhad Hoomer (41), in an affidavit in support of his bail application, disputed evidence linking him to the attack, saying the state has a “flimsy” case against him.

He owns four businesses, which deal in buying and selling of property and importing goods to South Africa.

The state is opposing Hoomer’s bail application, as well as that of 10 others charged in the case, and is expected to argue its case when the matter continues at the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

All 11 have filed affidavits detailing their personal circumstances and why they consider they should get bail.

Hoomer, along with 18 others, were arrested in connection with an attack on the Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam, north of Durban in May this year.

A worshipper, Abbas Essop, died in the incident, and two others, Imam Ali Nchiyane and caretaker Mohammed Ali were stabbed, but survived.

The accused are also allegedly linked to explosive devices found at various Woolworths outlets in Durban.

One accused, Goolam Mohammed Rashid Haffejee, was granted bail of R100 000 last week.

The state had previously withdrawn charges against seven accused, meaning only 11 accused are still seeking bail.

In his affidavit, Hoomer says the police’s evidence against him is “no stronger than [Haffejee’s]” links to the incidents.

He said the state had linked him to the attack on the mosque by tracking his cellphone movements, but he claims that the phone belonged to his late wife, Nadia, and said the phone could only be tracked to the general area of the mosque.

He claims he was not fingered in the identity parade held two weeks ago — which was the very reason for the state not opposing bail for Haffejee.

Hoomer’s affidavit states he was married to three women until Nadia’s death earlier this year.

He has five children, ranging from one-year-old twins to a 22-year-old.

His affidavit states neither his wives nor his children can drive, and that he is solely responsible for their financial well-being.

He employs six people in his businesses, who would also be jeopardised if he is refused bail.

According to an annexure to his affidavit Hoomer owns seven properties, including one worth R2 million.

Another accused, Ahmad Haffejee, owns two businesses with an asset valuation of R2,8 million, his affidavit in support of bail said.

Ahmad said he intends pleading not guilty to the charges. He said police had searched his business premises and found nothing to implicate him.

The other nine accused also submitted affidavits in support of bail. All but one of them required a Swahili translator.

They all claim that the police had “no reasonable grounds” on which to arrest them. They said they were arrested during a prayer service on October 5 by a team of 30 police officers who did so without a warrant of arrest.

Only one of the accused, Abubaker Ali, has a previous conviction for housebreaking.

State advocate Adele Barnard meanwhile revealed that another identity parade will soon be held as there is a new complainant in the matter.

The case continues.

• kerushun.pillay@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  verulam mosque attack

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