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Lawyer for suspects accused of looting R30m from KZN college says cops biased

In a letter seen by Eyewitness News, which was addressed to the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies, Bilal Malani - who represents Khan, Bechoo, and Ansari - said that his clients were unnecessarily detained ahead of their first court appearance in July.

FILE: Four suspects accused of looting R30 million from the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal TVET College appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 31 July 2020. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/EWN.

DURBAN - The case against four suspects accused of looting R30 million from the Coastal KZN TVET College was on Thursday postponed to December for the State to receive an outstanding report relating to the cellphone records of the accused.

Former CFO Zaitun Shaik, attorney Azgar Khan, his wife Sharlene Bechoo, and businessman Shaariq Ansari face fraud, corruption, and money laundering charges.

They appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday.

At the same time, the defence lawyer took issue with the arrest of his clients and called on the investigating officers to be removed, accusing them of bias.

The State alleged that R30 million was siphoned from the college between November 2018 and October 2019 after Shaik and Khan created a fake investment proposal purporting to come from a bank.

Ansari allegedly managed the money laundering enterprise, which also made payments to Bechoo.

In a letter seen by Eyewitness News, which was addressed to the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies, Bilal Malani - who represents Khan, Bechoo, and Ansari - said that his clients were unnecessarily detained ahead of their first court appearance in July.

Malani said that his clients' cellphones were also unlawfully seized under duress and against their will.

He said that content from one of his client’s cellphones could have been leaked to a third party, who later threatened him.

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