In a twist that mirrors South Africa's ongoing infrastructure challenges, the bail hearing of Brandon Naicker and Abraham Pillay, accused in a R180 million Ponzi scheme, faced another setback.
This time, water issues in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court added to the woes, following earlier delays caused by load shedding.
Naicker and Pillay, the two Durban men who allegedly ran a multi-million rand Ponzi scheme worth an estimated R180 million were told that “water issues” in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court building would mean that they would have to wait another two days to find out if they would get bail.
Magistrate W Robinson told the pair that she had been issued a directive by her head of office to conclude all court proceedings by 11am on Tuesday because of the water issues affecting the building. There was no water flowing into the court building and the toilets could not be used.
Magistrate Robinson said she was prepared and ready to hand down her judgement but, “I am a creature of statutes and I abide by the directives that are made”.
She told the prosecution and the defence that she was inclined to roll the matter over to Thursday, as it was unclear if the water issues would be resolved by Wednesday.
Advocate Dhamien Reddy, representing Naicker, however, argued that his client had been in custody since October 31 and another delay would prejudice him.
Robinson, however, erring on the side of caution, rolled over the matter to Thursday.
Naicker and Pillay are appearing in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court for allegedly fleecing one investor for R2 million.
The pair have been charged with eight counts, including theft and fraud.
The court, however, heard that the Hawks are currently investigating 80 other cases against them where investors lost tens of millions of rand.
The Hawks case docket against the pair is swelling and it is estimated that their Ponzi scheme could have ensnared more than 140 investors, with a value of nearly R180 million.
Naicker and Pillay have been in custody for more than a month and have made multiple court appearances for bail in relation to allegedly defrauding an investor of R2m.
They have indicated that they intend to deny the charges.
The court had earlier heard from the State that Naicker and Pillay ran a brokerage firm called Branson Capital.
Senior State prosecutor Joel Kisten told the court that the money paid into the Branson Capital account by investors was used to pay earlier investors, for gambling tokens, properties, forex, and to support the lifestyle of Naicker.
Detective Constable Simphiwe Maphumulo of the Hillcrest police had also told the court that he had uncovered another scam by Naicker in which he tried to get investors to invest in a supposed R35 billion development in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
According to Maphumulo, Naicker had been communicating with an investor about investing in the R35bn development up until September, despite being aware as far back as July that he was under investigation.