Cape Town - A journalist working for the Son newspaper and a businessman arrested last week made their first appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday where they were charged with 140 counts of fraud.
Police say Janice Ohlson, 40, from Parow, and Munier Abrahams, 41, from Portlands in Mitchells Plain were arrested on Thursday afternoon following a year-long investigation.
Ohlson, a chief sub-editor, was arrested at her workplace in the Media24 building on the Foreshore and Abrahams at his business, Executive Car Hire, in Epping.
The two were nabbed after allegedly fraudulently issuing documents to employ drag queen and whistle-blower Queeny Madikizela-Malema as a ghost writer.
Sylvano Hendricks, alias Queeny, was convicted of fraud for running a pyramid scheme and released on parole in 2014. She has since served her full sentence and is now a free person.
Queeny is believed to have links to gang bosses, top cops and local politicians, and became known as a whistle-blower when she claimed top cop Major-General Jeremy Vearey was corrupt and colluded with gangsters in an affidavit given to Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, which was later leaked to the media.
Cops say Ohlson and Abrahams issued a false work schedule to the Department of Correctional Services, to allow Queeny to move freely in the Western Cape “to commit crime”.
A pale and stressed out Ohlson took the stand in a thick black jacket and blue jeans while a relaxed Abrahams looked every inch the successful businessman in a smart chino pants, shirt and pullover.
State advocate, Adiel Jansen, said while the accused both have legal representatives, these lawyers have yet to approach the State.
Magistrate Magele then asked the accused if they had legal representatives.
Ohlson, who looked like she was in a trance, only responded to Magele on the third time he called her name.
“My boyfriend organised a lawyer for me, I don’t know his name,” the dazed woman said.
“I also got an attorney, a Mr Solomons,” Abrahams added confidently.
The Daily Voice later learnt that the lawyers were at court, but were in the wrong court.
Abrahams was also rapped over the knuckles by Magele after he kept turning his back to the magistrate, apparently looking for familiar faces in the gallery.
“Mr Abrahams, you do not look in the gallery, but to this court,” an irritated Magele said.
The State asked that the duo remain behind bars.
“The State is opposed to bail for the accused in the matter and ask the court that the matter be remanded for seven days to set up a bail profile,” Jansen submitted.
The matter was postponed until Monday for lawyers to be present, and a bail application. Ohlson and Abrahams are to remain in custody until then.
The Daily Voice contacted Die Son editor, Andrew Koopman, who said he was on holiday, and referred enquiries to Media24.
On Friday, Colleen Rainers, the general manager at Media24, said the company would only comment after the matter went to court on Monday and they had some “clarity”.
However, she did not respond to queries for comment on Monday.