R1m bail for fund fraud accused
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Two men accused of embezzling more than R100 million in pension funds have been granted bail of R500 000 each.
Cape Town Magistrate Frederick Louw on Thursday granted businessman Sam Buthelezi and former SA and Clothing Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) consultant Richard Kawie bail with strict conditions.
Buthelezi and Kawie had been in custody since their arrest on December 1 for allegedly defrauding union members of their pension funds invested through Buthelezi’s asset management company, Trilinear.
The fraud was allegedly committed between March 2009 and February this year.
On Thursday, Louw said the men had proved it was in the interest of justice to release them. State advocate Malini Govender asked that a bail of R1 million be set, but the men’s lawyers objected.
Buthelezi’s lawyer, Roosh-deen Rudolph, said his client could afford R2 000, while Kawie’s lawyer, Bulelani Mbeleni, said his client had R2 500 for bail.
The presiding officer adjourned for a few minutes to deliberate on the amount of bail.
When he returned, Louw said an excessive amount of bail would constitute a denial of bail, but added that he had a problem with the “inferior” amounts the defence had suggested.
He said the pair were educated men who worked, lived and operated in “big circles”.
“They speak of millions when others speak of thousands of rand. Buthelezi said (in his bail affidavit) that he was part of a well-known family from KwaZulu-Natal,” Louw said.
Kawie was a “jet-setter” who testified that he travelled to his wife and children in Sweden at least once a month, Louw said.
Kawie also told the court that he had four properties in Cape Town worth R12m.
“They are by no means men of straw,” Louw said.
“They did not play their game in the ordinary league, but in the top, superior league,” he added.
His last words to the accused before announcing their bail were: “Gentlemen, you will now learn who your real friends are.”
The bail conditions include reporting to Sea Point police station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday between 8am and 8pm, and that they not leave the Western Cape without permission from the investigating officer.
The men are also prohibited from entering any port of entry, department of home affairs or embassy office.
They also may not apply for any document at home affairs or any embassy, and may not contact state witnesses and home affairs employees.
They must surrender their travel documents, have a cellphone number on which they will be contactable at any time, and remain at home between 10pm and 5am every day until the matter is finalised.
Buthelezi and Kawie are due back in court on June 28. - Daily News
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