State seeks to determine immigration status of man linked to Durban businesswoman's kidnapping

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Sandra Moonsamy. (Supplied)
Sandra Moonsamy. (Supplied)

Questions around the immigration status of the only suspect linked to the kidnapping of Sandra Moonsamy were raised in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Jerry Ogbuwany Gike, 35, a hairdressing salon owner operating in the Point area in Durban, appeared with a backpack, looking emotionless.

The State said a proper determination of his citizen status had to be followed up with a Department of Home Affairs official.

Gike has allegedly been using a life partner permit that was issued to him in 2011.

"The State is opposing bail, saying the accused has no legal status in SA. His lawyer produced a document, saying the accused had applied for legal status. To make a proper determination for bail, the head of immigration has to be consulted," Kuveshnie Pillay said for the State.

The court, meanwhile, urged a moderate media contingent to refrain from taking pictures of Gike after he said, through his lawyer Abdul Shaikjee, that it would put him in danger.

"We see no reason why a picture should be taken. If they [the media] already have a picture of him, they can use that. We feel more pictures are placing him at risk."

The matter returns to Durban Magistrate's Court on August 13 for bail consideration.

Gike was found in possession of a cellphone, allegedly belonging to Moonsamy. This is the first breakthrough in the case since her disappearance on May 30.

Moonsamy, the financial head of her family business Crossmoor Transport, was allegedly abducted by gunmen near the M13 and Stapleton Road intersection in Pinetown.

It is believed her kidnappers are demanding a multimillion-rand ransom in exchange for her safe return.

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