From the news desk

Concern over the release of Al Noor founder

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MEC for Community Safety in the Western Cape Albert Fritz has expressed concern over the release of the founder of the Al Noor Orphanage in Woodstock. The 49-year-old Amina Okpara was freed on R5000 bail at the Cape Town magistrates court on Tuesday. Despite state prosecutors insisting that she was a flight risk, the state failed to prove why she should not be released.

Okpara’s husband allegedly flew to Nigeria after the orphanage was shut down and it was believed she would join him. However, all her passports and ID documents must be handed into the police station, where she must report twice a week.

Okpara was arrested by the Hawks on 15 June for having allegedly stolen donations and funding provided to the Woodstock-based orphanage. She faces three counts of contravention of the Immigration Act and a charge of fraud.

Additionally, Al Noor’s facility manager, Nkululeko Mboniswa, will appear in court in September on two charges of assault (GBH), sexual assault and the grooming of a child. He was previously released on bail for R400.

A Court Watching Brief has been instituted by the Department of Community Safety to ensure that due process is followed in subsequent hearings.

“Al Noor’s corrupt activities became apparent to me in early July as a fake document was circulated in my name whilst I served as the Minister of Social Development. This document constituted fraud and impersonation. I did not ‘give direction’ as stated in the document, to support a holiday programme facilitated by Al-Noor Orphanage,” Minister Fritz said.

“It is my understanding that she will appear in court again in November. The Department of Community Safety will continue to monitor this matter through its Court Watching Brief to ensure that due process is followed.”

Fritz commended the Department of Social Development for having deregistered Al Noor and ensuring that it can no longer legally operate.

“The appeal is for Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, who will consider all the facts in the matter and make a decision.” VOC

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