CASE ON HOLD AFTER JUDGE DIES
THE Johannesburg high court was forced to postpone the case of a 10-man gang accused of stealing millions of rands in a brazen robbery at OR Tambo International Airport.
The postponement comes after the death of Judge Mohammed Jajbhay on Tuesday. Prosecutor Willemien Vos said: "As soon as a judge is available the case will start."
On March 25 2006 armed robbers made off with R65million in foreign currency after overpowering guards on a plane that had just landed.
The state alleges that Fox Shikunwela Sithole, Eddie Ubisi, Bangani Mbuyisa, Ananias Nepfumembe, Uakere Maunda, Tijuanda Uakotela, Thokozani Ziqubu, Vusi Ndangala, Cecil Arendse and Christopher Billings met regularly to plan the robbery. The state alleges that they knew that the plane would land, months before it did.
Other gang members Sean Soobramoney and Nazir Ishmail pleaded guilty to the charges and have turned state witnesses. Soobramoney and Ishmail were sentenced to 20 years each but the entire sentence was suspended for five years.
Another state witness, Magdalena Moonsammy, was employed by the Airports Company of SA as an operations controller responsible for the allocation of parking bays to landing aircraft. She admitted that she gave flight SAA 237 parking bay D34 opposite the VIP gate, making it easier for the robbers to flee with the loot.
She was sentenced to five years in prison, which was suspended for five years. She was given a further three years of correctional supervision.
Rookaya Ebrahim was also sentenced to three years correctional supervision. The case was postponed to next week.