Three Bangladeshi nationals facing charges of murders, kidnapping and attempted extortion have been released on R10,000 bail.
The fourth accused abandoned his bail application.
Mohammed Alamin (26), Fuzlol Alom (36) and Mohammed Solayman Ahmed (34), Mohammed Rahman (27) all from Bophelong appeared in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Rahman is facing a further charge of being illegal in the country.
It is alleged that on 16 December 2021 the four accused kidnapped a man, also Bangladeshi, in Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga and drove with him to Vanderbijlpark where they assaulted him.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Lumka Mahanjana said the accused then recorded a video of him and sent it to his family in Bangladesh, demanding a ransom.
After several days of not receiving a response from his family they killed him, dumped and burnt his body in the bushes in Bophelong.
The body was discovered by a person who was passing by on 30 December 2021.
Mahanjana said the four were initially arrested and appeared at Kwaggafontein Magistrates’ Court on kidnapping charges and were later arrested again on 4 March 2022 and appeared at Vanderbijlpark Magistrates’ Court for the murder charge.
She said the four accused confessed to committing the offences, and the two dockets were subsequently combined at Vanderbijlpark where the state opposed bail.
“Prosecutor Corneller Grobler told the court that it was not in the best interest of justice for the accused to be granted bail because they were a flight risk, as there was nothing binding them to the country besides their shop which is worth R200,000 and considering the charges they are facing, they can flee.”
“She added that the accused might interfere with witnesses that are in Bangladesh and influence them. She also informed the court that the accused are being investigated for a similar offence which they committed before the current one, therefore they are likely to commit the same offence again should they be released on bail,” Mahanjana said.
Mahanjana said the Magistrate however granted the accused bail with conditions that they should report to the police station every Monday and Friday between 9am and 4pm and that they should not leave Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging, and Boipatong area.
“The magistrate further stated that she does not believe the accused are a flight risk since they own properties and are asylum seekers in South Africa.”
The matter has been postponed to 1 July 2022, for further investigation.
Meanwhile, social media users including ani-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee raised concerns about the Bangladeshi national being granted bail.
Abramjee tweeted: “We have a serious problem with this. Bail is granted easily for serious and violent crime. No wonder we have some coming out and committing more crimes.”
The NPA responded to Abramjee:
“NPA’s role is to oppose bail and argue facts accordingly in cases where it deems it wouldn’t be appropriate to grant bail, in terms of the law. However, final decision is with the judge / magistrate.”