Durban - The legal team of Vimal Rajbansi, son of the late Minority Front leader, Amichand Rajbansi, told a Commercial Crime Court magistrate that he wanted his fraud trial to go ahead because he was “eager to clear his name”.
Rajbansi and North West businessman, Gideon Pretorius, were charged with fraud, amounting to R3 million, relating to a business deal.
Charges against Rajbansi’s wife, Sonia van Eck, were withdrawn last year.
The State alleged that the men bought office equipment for an enterprise, Ditona, from the company Merchant West in November 2010 with a lease-payment agreement.
Merchant West financed the deal for Ditona and retained ownership of the equipment.
Two months after the deal, Ditona went into liquidation and Merchant West attempted to recover their equipment before it was taken by the liquidators, but they found that the equipment had been taken by another company.
The case was set down for a five-day trial from on Monday, but prosecutor Nevas Heeralall said Pretorius had informed him that he did not have an attorney.
Pretorius said his attorneys had withdrawn and he needed time to hire a new representative. Rajbansi’s advocate Paul Jorgensen said his client was being “held to ransom” by Pretorius.
“This is the second time that the matter has been set down for trial. We have done extensive preparations and are ready to proceed. It is unfair and prejudicial to my client that he has to be strung along because of his co-accused.”
Jorgensen said that the trials could be separated, so Rajbansi’s matter could start this week.
But Heeralall said that it would not be in the interests of justice to separate the trials.
He said that State witnesses would have to testify twice about the same evidence and the men were charged with committing fraud “with a common purpose”.
The case was adjourned to later this week and Pretorius was ordered to have an attorney in court by that date.
Pretorius and Rajbansi are out on bail of R25 000 each.