Durban man threatens NPA after losing court case

Avinash Ramkistan went on a rampage intimidating and threatening the national Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi, a judge, prosecutors and police with “death” and “bloodshed” after he lost a court case. Picture: Supplied

Avinash Ramkistan went on a rampage intimidating and threatening the national Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi, a judge, prosecutors and police with “death” and “bloodshed” after he lost a court case. Picture: Supplied

Published May 13, 2024

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CHARLENE SOMDUTH

A DISGRUNTLED Glen Ashley man who lost a court case allegedly went on a rampage, intimidating and threatening the national Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi, a judge, prosecutors and police with “death” and “bloodshed” in emails, voice recordings and social media posts.

Avinash Ramkistan, 38, a businessman who had worked in the insurance industry, was arrested in March and has been charged with seven counts of intimidation, contravention of the National Prosecuting Authority Act 32 (1) (b) and crimen injuria.

He appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where bail was denied.

The State opposed bail and led evidence by the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Sivan Naidoo, from the Hawks.

Naidoo told the court he was opposed to bail due to the seriousness of the charges.

He said the threats stemmed from a civil matter after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority disbarred Ramkistan for a period of 10 years because his underwriters were liquidated.

He said Ramkistan then proceeded with civil action in the Durban High Court against the authority and Standard Bank. He elected to represent himself.

The court heard that the acting judge presiding over the case dismissed the matter against the authority and the bank with costs.

Naidoo said instead of Ramkistan taking the decision on review, he opened a fraud and corruption case against the acting judge.

“There was no merit in his case and the senior public prosecutor declined to prosecute.”

He said Ramkistan started making verbal threats against the prosecutors and the previous investigating officers through emails and voice recordings.

As part of evidence of the threats and intimidation, the State played a voice recording where he could be heard making death threats towards a prosecutor. It is believed that Ramkistan recorded the conversation and then posted it on his Facebook page.

“You, advocate Mthembu and Val Melis are going to be taken by force. Do you understand me? You must might as well try and get a protection order that is not going to help you.

“You understand what is coming your way. I make myself clear sir. You know what you have done. You know what you were doing and you know what’s gonna come to you.

“Understand that you can go lay criminal charges, whatever you want to. There is already criminal charges loaded on my side. It is my right to arrest anybody without a warrant, for your information, by force. Do you understand what’s going to happen to you sir?

“You guys are f ****** with the wrong person. Now y’all are going to f ****** see your a ******** . Do you understand. Y’all are gonna f ******* die. I am gonna shed blood for this. There is over a f ****** R100 million due to me you *** and you send me a *** letter like this.

“Who the f*** told y’all to do s*** like this? I am gonna come there and wipe all your m ********* out. I am not scared of no one even the police know what’s my rights. It is my right to come take you by force. You can play this recording for everybody. The public needs to hear all the f ****** b***s*** that y’all get up to.

“Your department is the most useless f ****** department. Y’all want to get back to me get your f ****** boss Shamila Batohi to contact me okay. Until then understand that one of these days I am coming to take all your m ***** f ****** by force. We gonna see who is going to protect you.

“Do I make myself clear Mr DamaKhule, are you even South African? ...huh .... a ******* . I am talking to you. Are you even a South African citizen? You not. Don’t worry my friend keep quiet, you must keep quiet when there is a f ***** gun to your head you understand. I will come see you personally …” (sic).

Naidoo said he had 30 years of experience and was of the strong belief that the accused would harm the prosecution team because he was adamant he had been wronged.

“One of the witnesses, a senior state prosecutor, was shaking in fear just by hearing his name. She did not want to be in the building (Durban Magistrate’s Court). I am concerned about the safety of the victims, most of them are female.”

He said previously the prosecutor had an open-door policy where police officers could see them at any time, but due to the threats, arrangements now needed to be made to see any of the victims.

“If the threats were done from a moment of weakness, he could have called to apologise, but he still posted the recordings on Facebook and continued to tell the public that the judges were fake and make allegations of fraud.”

Naidoo said it was in the public interest, the interest of public safety and the safety of staff, that Ramkistan be denied bail.

In an affidavit, Ramkistan told the court he intended to plead not guilty to the charges against him.

He said he was the sole breadwinner for his parents, aged 56 and 60.

The court heard that he paid for his mother’s medical bills for illnesses related to her heart, hypertension and sinusitis, among other conditions.

He believed if released it would be in the interest of justice and he would not endanger the safety of the public.

Ramkistan said he was not a flight risk because he had family and business ties in Durban.

He is not in possession of travel documents such as a passport and had no relatives living outside of the province.

The court also heard that he did not own a firearm and never applied for a firearm licence.

In his ruling, the magistrate found that Naidoo had provided precise evidence.

“The elements of violence that were before this court are undisputed.”

He said the court heard voice recordings where there were threats of shedding blood.

“The facts speak for themselves that there is a very strong likelihood he may intimidate witnesses and the investigation. It is in the interest of justice that bail is refused.”

The matter was adjourned to June for further investigations and for more complainants to be added to the investigation.

‘I am not scared of no one’

AVINASH RAMKISTAN

Businessman

The POST

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