Former Estina (Pvt) Ltd director Kamal Vasram narrowly survived a brief but bruising bail application in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Monday after the State accused him of not fully revealing his financial and other personal circumstances in his affidavit when he applied for release.
Vasram, who is one of the accused in the case relating to the alleged misappropriation of funds in the Vrede Dairy Project was granted R100 000 bail.
The State, led by Advocate Justice Bakamela argued before court that Vasram had not played open cards with the authorities by not fully revealing his finances and how much he could afford for bail.
Vasram had indicated to court that he could only afford a bail of R10 000 because he was not employed and was involved with some consultancy work that gave him about R15 000 a month.
“The accused is not being honest with his finances,” said Bakamela.
“Investigations by the State have indicated that the accused pays a rent of about R14 700. That leaves him with a lousy R300. This is according to an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer from his account to that of the landlord,” he added.
Bakamela added that Vasram also had a bond with FNB on a piece of land in Duikerfontein, Durban North and it was not clear how he was managing to service on his salary from which he also had to look after his parents.
The State also argued that Vasram should not be granted bail as he was a flight risk since he recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates.
“He is not being honest with his other means of income. Traveling overseas is not cheap. The fact that the accused can travel overseas when he doesn’t have money means that he can evade. He is not playing open cards. His co-accused gave details of their planned travels,” he argued, adding that releasing Vasram on would not be in the interest of just as investigations were still underway and his life could be in danger.
But his lawyer Advocate Victor Simelane dismissed this saying the accused had resigned from the company and had no influence in the company anymore and that he did not reside in the Free State, therefore, there was not likely to be any harm to his life.
He also said his client had no reason to evade as he immediately reported to the police when asked to.
“His details are now out in the public, so why single him out?” asked Simelane, referring to the seven co-accused released on bail last Thursday.
“He has resigned from the company and this not like a case of organised crime. The accused was contacted telephonically by the police and he presented himself. He could have evaded if he wanted to. Presently, the accused is not interested in travelling abroad and has never been a fugitive before,” added Simelane.
The lawyer explained that Vasram had actually borrowed the money he used to travel to the UAE to solicit business. He admitted that his rental money was high but the accused used to earn more through his consultancy work until news of the case broke, leading him to losing several clients.
Vasram is expected back in court with the other accused on August 17.