By Kouthar Sambo
Emotions were high at the Wynberg Magistrates Court when New Age SA Travel Head Shahied Davids appeared for a bail application on Friday.
The court has denied Davids’ application for bail.
This comes after Davids was arrested on a charge of theft under false pretenses on 14 January at the Cape Town International Airport. He was attacked by mutamireen (pilgrims) whom he allegedly defrauded of their Umrah funds.
The investigative officer, Andy Herman, has leveled a series of complaints and evidence against Davids, opposing bail.
The reasons for opposing bail, to name a few, include that the accused (Davids) may:
- Continue to defraud people of their funds should he be released on bail.
- He may flee the country as Davids has a broad travel network.
- He may intimidate or persuade the affected parties to withdraw charges on the promise of return payments.
- The safety and security of his life is at stake.
The travel head was charged with two counts of fraud, while an additional 34 complainants claimed that Davids allegedly defrauded them from their funds. Meanwhile, no charges have been made by these complainants as of yet.
The court also cited a husband and wife, who were allegedly conned of R33,900 each. It is believed that once the payment was made, Davids failed to provide them with an itinerary.
The court added that Davids’ modus operandi (method of doing things) remained consistent in all scenarios – he allegedly obtained payment from consumers and failed to pay for their flight tickets.
There are allegations that Davids is buying property in Turkey, however, no concrete evidence has been provided to support these claims.
The argument for granting bail
Davids’ attorney, Nazeer Parker, argued that Davids cannot remain in custody due to health risks such as high blood pressure.
Additionally, Davids is the sole breadwinner in his family’s home, said Parker, and that remaining in custody would be detrimental to his family’s survival.
In response to the concerns raised should Davids be released on bail, Parker clarified that Davids has no intention to leave the country. He argued that Davids could have gone to Vietnam, where his son resides, should he have intended to evade his actions.
“The accused has said in his affidavit: have I wanted to evade my trial and use this large network at my disposal, I would have done so,” argued Parker.
But the accused learned of the outcry of the public, said Parker, and is coming back to South Africa to ensure that these matters are resolved.
“He traveled back to South Africa, knowing of the potential criminal charges that are there, and knowing that there are people that are angry with him,” stressed Parker.
Though Davids has denied the allegations leveled against him, Parker argued that Davids cannot make amends while he remains in custody.
The judge delivered a verdict, citing that bail had been denied, following an extensive evaluation of the weight of Davids’ personal circumstances against the interest of the court.
This is still a developing story.