A SOUTH AFRICAN man accused of illegal possession of more than 6kgs of gold worth over $300 000 was on Monday granted $20 000 bail.
Report by Sials Nkala
Gert Johanness Drederek Erasmus (55) of 30 Kenton Sel Court in Johannesburg was not asked to plead to the charge when he appeared before Bulawayo Provincial magistrate John Masimba for bail application.
Erasmus’ sister Fransisca Cathrina told the court her brother was in Mutare and only left Zimbabwe in October last year after he developed a heart problem.
She said her brother was supposed to have a heart transplant in South Africa and was supposed to see a specialist on February 18 where a date for a major operation was to be set if it was not for his arrest and detention in Zimbabwe.
Fransisca said Erasmus co-owns a plot with his wife in Bulawayo and she was convinced that if he was granted bail he would not abscond. State witness, Detective Assistant Inspector Progress Nkomo opposed bail alleging chances were high that Erasmus would abscond.
The State led by Jeremiah Mutsindikwa later conceded there was no law that forbids the accused to be granted bail as he never attempted to escape since his arrest.
Masimba granted him $20 000 or R200 000 bail and ordered him to surrender his car an S422 Mercedes Benz with South African registration LCC925GP.
He was also told to report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Minerals section once daily between 6am and 6pm.
On February 17, Erasmus arrived at the Esigodini tollgate along the Bulawayo-Gwanda road at around 9:35am driving his South Africa registered vehicle. Three detectives from the Border Control and Minerals Unit were tipped that he wanted to smuggle gold to South Africa.
They searched and recovered 6,112kg of gold worth
$304 098, but Erasmus failed to produce a licence leading to his arrest.
Meanwhile, appearing before the same magistrate separately on the same day, Norman Peter Gardiner (71) of Imbabala Road at Selborne in Bulawayo was not formally charged with illegal possession of gold and bribery.
Gardiner, who is being accused of illegal possession of over
137,8g of gold, allegedly tried to bribe police detectives with
R1 120 000. He was granted $8 000 bail. The State had opposed Gardiner’s bail application claiming he was a flight risk as he allegedly tried to bribe three detectives during his arrest.
But the magistrate granted the bail and ordered him to surrender his passport. The two will appear in court on March 6 for trial.
Three detectives from CID raided Gardiner’s home, searched and recovered 137,8g of gold in his gun cabinet leading to his arrest.
He then allegedly offered the detectives a bribe of R1 120 000.