Warrant for Moti Group's former legal advisor suspended after his arrest in Durban for 'info theft'

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Controversial businessman Zunaid Moti.
Controversial businessman Zunaid Moti.
James Oatway
  • The Randburg Magistrate's Court suspended an arrest warrant issued for the Moti Group's former legal assistant, Clinton van Niekerk.
  • Van Niekerk was arrested in Durban on Wednesday while en route to New Zealand.
  • He is accused of stealing confidential information from the Moti Group between September and November last year.

The former legal advisor to controversial businessman Zunaid Moti has been released after the Randburg Magistrate's Court suspended a warrant for his arrest.

Clinton van Niekerk was arrested for "theft of confidential information" in Durban on Wednesday, according to his lawyer, Stephen May.

He had been en route to New Zealand at the time of his arrest, apparently over fears for his life. 

According to the charge sheet, it is alleged that he stole confidential information from the Moti Group, amounting to 4 013 files, between September and November 2022.

Moti owns the Sandton-based Moti Group, which lists mining, property development, security, logistics and aviation among its business interests.

Van Niekerk was transferred from Durban to Johannesburg, even though his legal team successfully approached the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban to stop the transfer.

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The High Court had issued an order on Thursday, directing the Minister of Safety and Security and station commanders of the Verulam and Sandton SAPS not to remove Van Niekerk from the jurisdiction of the Verulam Magistrate's Court or from the jurisdiction of KwaZulu-Natal, pending further relief sought in the matter before it.

The court also ordered that Van Niekerk be detained at the Verulam police station, pending his application to have the Gauteng warrant set aside.

The court ordered that the minister and station commanders be advised about the order telephonically and that arrangements be made for the order to be sent to them electronically.

During proceedings in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Friday, May argued that police breached a court order by taking his client to Gauteng after his arrest in Durban and that they were in contempt of court.

May argued that his client was a whistleblower and that it was never his intention to evade arrest.

But the State argued that van Niekerk was a flight risk and that he intended to leave the country at the time of his arrest. 

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The prosecutor told the court that his wife was already in New Zealand.

The matter was struck from the roll.

Following his client's release, May said: 

The order handed down by His Lordship Justice Shapiro does envisage further litigation in the High Court, Durban in relation to the warrant issued at Randburg and executed in Durban, as to whether it will be set aside. However, it was ordered that my client now be released from custody here.

Asked about what would happen from here, May explained that the National Prosecuting Authority could summons his client, or apply for a new warrant to enrol the matter again.

As it stood, there was no pending case against Van Niekerk and he was thus not warned to appear in court or released on bail.

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