Murder victim, Siam Lee

DURBAN - The man accused of Siam Lee’s murder had been in hot water with the Department of Environment and Water Affairs over complaints that employees of his oil business had allegedly been throwing oil into a river, the Durban Magistrate’s Court heard on Thursday.

He had been dealing with the issue through his lawyers before being arrested in January and had also moved the Gauteng company, Better Fuels, from Germiston to Westonaria.

From the witness stand during a bail application, he told the court during cross-examination by prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu about various companies that had been registered under his name, which she had presented to him.

He said the department had considered charging his company and that there had been a lengthy exchange between it and his lawyers who accused the department’s staff of harassing his staff.

Among his companies was a logistics company registered at the address where he was arrested in Assagay - on Controversy Drive.

“There’s some loaded meaning in that word,” quipped magistrate Mahommed Motala, followed by a ripple of laughter in the court gallery.

Siam Lee went missing from a house in Margaret Mayton Drive, known to be a brothel, in January and was later found dead and burnt, in a sugar cane field near New Hanover.

The 29-year-old man is also accused of rape and may therefore not be identified until he has pleaded.