Diamond dealer awaits DPP’s ruling

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Published Aug 14, 2018


International diamond dealer Sylla Moussa should hear at the end of this month, if the more-than-a-decade-old fraud and money laundering case against him, will be dropped.

Moussa entered local headlines in 2014 during a well publicised legal battle between himself and businessman Zunaid Moti.

The pair were both claiming ownership of a pink diamond worth more than $50 million. Moussa had allegedly signed over the diamond as payment to Moti for an extensive debt, claims which Moussa denied at the time.

Moussa has gone on the record claiming he had regained ownership of the gem, but has denied any wrongdoing in the current case against him.

He is accused of defrauding Absa bank of more than R40m in 2006 over a period of six weeks using a technique known as “kite-flying” or “cheque kiting”.

This involves taking advantage of non-existent funds in a chequeing account with cheques used as unauthorised credit.

The dealer claims the reasoning for the charges is that he had simply failed to pay his overdraft because of a lack of financial liquidity at the time, also saying that an agreement had already been reached with the bank to pay back R23.5m with a further R1m for the bank’s legal fees.

Because of this, Moussa and his lawyer, advocate Moleko Ratau, have put through representations to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to have the case against him withdrawn.

It’s understood that if Absa decides not to continue pursuing the criminal charges against him, the NDPP may consider agreeing to grant Moussa’s request.

So far, the DPP has not considered the representations due to an outstanding amount of R500000 that Moussa still owed to the bank.

However, on Wednesday at the high court, prosecutor Nerisha Naidoo said Moussa had assured the court that the sale of a R10m diamond had been conducted, and that he had paid the outstanding R500 000 to Absa and that this money would be reflected soon.

The case was postponed until the end of the month for the DPP’s decision to be made.

The Saturday Star 

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