Pretoria - Magistrate Thandi Theledi has denied bail to Willah Mudolo, the last co-accused involved in the alleged defrauding of members of the Enlightened Christian Gathering alongside fugitive Shepherd Bushiri.
In the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, Theledi said she would be basing her judgment solely on Mudolo’s conduct prior, during and after his arrest at OR Tambo International airport on October 17.
She said as a schedule five formal bail application, it was up to Mudolo to convince the court that the interest of justice warranted his release on bail.
Mudolo is facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering to the tune of over R106 million alongside his wife Zethu Mudolo, Shepherd Bushiri, Mary Bushiri and Landiwe Ntlokwana Sindani.
Theledi stressed that her decision was not influenced in any way by the behaviour of the Bushiris, who had following their release on bail fled to Malawi in violation of their bail conditions.
Of his conduct prior to his arrest, she said he had on two occasions gone to OR Tambo International Airport with the intention to try and leave the country and allegedly head for Dubai.
And after his arrest, Theledi said, the State had informed the court that Mudolo had on several occasions been found in possession of cellphones and communicating with persons on the outside.
To make matters worse, some of those conversations related to an attempt to bribe a court official.
What also counted against Mudolo, she said, was the evidence led by an official of the Department of Home Affairs who indicated that even before the restrictions of the lockdown took effect, Mudolo had rendered himself an “undesirable person“.
And that even in the event that he sought other remedies, the department would not be able to grant him a visa.
The fact that he was able to conduct transactions involving large sums of money while incarcerated also made it evident that he would be more than able to forfeit any bail amount set, and this included his R25 million Sandhurst property.
Also considering that Mudolo has business interests in Nigeria, Hong Kong, London and Zambia, Theledi said should he disappear into one of those countries, it would be extremely difficult to have him extradited back to South Africa to stand trial.
For this reason, she said bail was denied, with the matter postponed to February 25.