R500k bail for Sandton 'Tinder Swindler' who allegedly defrauded Johannesburg woman of R3m

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Amon Amonelo Namara in court facing fraud and money laundering charges.
Amon Amonelo Namara in court facing fraud and money laundering charges.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • A magistrate granted a Ugandan national R500 000 bail in a case where he's charged for fraud and money laundering.
  • Amon Amonelo Namara, dubbed the Sandton 'Tinder Swindler', was granted bail on Wednesday.
  • He allegedly defrauded a woman of R3 million.

A Ugandan national, dubbed the Sandton 'Tinder Swindler', has been granted R500 000 bail on allegations of fraud and money laundering.

The magistrate, Nishani Beharie, set the hefty bail amount for Amon Amonelo Namara because of the gravity of the charges.

Namara, 43, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. He is accused of defrauding a woman of R3 million by coercing her to invest the money in his new business venture.

The woman borrowed the money from two friends and gave it to Namara.

However, the multimillion-rand business venture did not materialise as Namara allegedly disappeared with the money.

It was previously reported that Namara allegedly met the woman on the dating site, Tinder, although this was not mentioned in court.

City Press reported that a number of women looking for love were robbed of thousands of rands, jewellery and clothes.

After matching with women on the dating site, Namara allegedly wined and dined them with the promise of giving them everlasting love before asking them to lend him large sums of money, which he never returned.

READ | 'Sandton Tinder swindler' to spend another weekend behind bars

The prosecutor, Goitsemang Gorewang, read an affidavit prepared by the Hawks' investigating officer, Sello Mohapeloa.

Gorewang opposed Namara's bail application, claiming he was in the country illegally.

"After obtaining the money from her friends, the victim electronically transferred R1.3 million into Namara's FNB account. She later withdrew R1.7 million in portions and handed it over to the applicant.

"She realised that she was scammed after the accused disappeared. Namara bought a blue Mercedes-Benz vehicle for R722 000 from WeBuyCars. He bought the vehicle in cash, using the amount the victim transferred into his FNB account," said Gorewang.

Namara apparently later personalised the car's registration number to DUNCANH GP.

The car was registered under the name of Namara's ex-wife. She later denied giving him permission to register the car under her name.

Previous conviction 

Namara has a previous conviction for fraud. He was sentenced to a R20 000 fine or one-year sentence in 2010.

"There are other cases opened against him. His ex-wife opened cases of intimidation and common assault against him. There is another case of fraud being investigated against him," said Gorewang.

"He obtained his visa fraudulently by forging his ex-wife's signature. After his conviction and sentence, Namara was eligible for deportation. He was prevented from renewing his visa by the home affairs department."

Gorewang said the Hawks were collecting evidence in other pending cases.

"If he is released on bail, he could tamper with evidence. He may evade trial because he is eligible for deportation. He obtained his visa through misrepresentation methods, claiming he resided with a South African woman.

"His ex-wife registered a criminal case against him for using her name to obtain a visa. He is a prohibited person who doesn't qualify for any port of entry visa because he was convicted of fraud in 2010," Gorewang said.

READ | Alleged romance scammers' bail application postponed in Cape Town court

Namara's lawyer, Eric Bryer, disputed that Namara was a flight risk and that he was illegally in the country.

"He fathered two children, aged 16 and nine, with his ex-wife. His children are dependent on him. He is the sole breadwinner, earning R35 000 per month as a sales representative. On 17 January, my client applied for the renewal of his visa with home affairs.

"If he were illegal in the country, his application would not be entertained. He has been in the country since 2009, the same year he married his wife. The couple divorced in 2009.

"He has a pending case of common assault registered at Sandton SAPS. His Ugandan passport is with the investigating officer. He is not in possession of any passport. 

"The applicant has no desire to flee South Africa. There is no risk that he would interfere with witnesses. There is no likelihood of endangering the public. His family will suffer prejudice if he is incarcerated. He will comply with all bail conditions," Bryer said.

Beharie said if Namara was illegally in the country, the police should arrest him.

"I propose to set bail high, so that you don't flee the country. You are not allowed to leave Gauteng without the permission of the investigating officer. You are also not allowed to leave South Africa. You must report twice at a nearby police station," Beharie said.

The accused is expected back in court on 29 April.

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