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Durban - Six men charged in connection with an elaborate banking fraud scam will have to remain behind bars until next week when the State will decide whether to oppose bail.
They were arrested on Thursday during a sting operation at the Blue Waters Hotel on the Durban beachfront.
Roshanlall Omadat, Willy Wandibha, Victor Solomon, Olwwaseun Akinniyi, Nhlanhla Zulu and Sunil Chimanlall are accused of being part of a syndicate that defrauded several businessmen of large sums of money.
They appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The scam is alleged to involve the use of businesses’ speedpoint machines to make refunds from their bank accounts on to bank cards.
The men were alleged to have approached businesses in financial difficulty and offered bribes if they could have access to the speedpoint machines.
They would dupe the business owners into believing that by using the machines they could steal huge amounts of cash from the bank.
However, the money was actually taken from the businesses’ bank accounts and transferred on to bank cards.
During the sting operation, the gang allegedly transferred more than R900 000 on to bank cards supplied by undercover policemen before they were arrested.
State prosecutor Yuban Archary said the men were charged in connection with the R900 000 transaction, but this amount could increase.
The men faced charges of fraud, theft and of contravening the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act and the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act.
Archary said there was a possibility that they would be charged with other crimes once the Director of Public Prosecutions had reviewed the docket.
The State needed to decided whether to oppose bail as it was a “serious offence” and the police had to investigate whether any of the men were flight risks.
The immigration status of Nigerian nationals Akinniyi and Wandibha also had to be established.
Attorney Sunitha Hiralall, who is acting for four of the men, said the State need to provide proper reasons for their objection to bail.
She also appealed for Chimanlall and Omadat to be kept in police station holding cells instead of being sent to prison.
But Archary said he had no letter from the police to authorise the men being held at the cells.
Hiralall said both men were ill and needed medical attention.
Magistrate Vanitha Armu ordered that the men be kept at the Westville Prison hospital.
The case was adjourned to next week.