By Nozwelo Hadebe
A Zimbabwean man who is wanted in South Africa on allegations of stealing more than R10 million from a company he was working for, has been arrested in Victoria Falls.
Reginald Bernstein (61), originally from Bulawayo but residing at 30 Canterbury, Avondale in Harare, was allegedly on the run from the time the crimes were unearthed in November 2015.Police, acting on a provisional warrant of arrest from International Police (Interpol), fished out Bernstein from his hide-out in Victoria Falls on March 16.
Bernstein faces theft and fraud charges allegedly committed between April 7, 2009 and November 27, 2015 in South Africa when he was employed at Danger Golf Estate in Gauteng Province.
He has been in remand prison since his arrest last month as the State intends to make an application for his extradition.
Bernstein’s lawyer, Mr Givemore Mvhiringi. of Mvhiringi and Associates had applied for his release from custody pending the extradition.
In his submissions, Mr Mvhiringi indicated that his client had no problem with being extradited but wanted to be released from custody pending the process.
The lawyer said in terms of the law, a person arrested on a provisional warrant cannot be detained for more than 28 days. Bernstein was arrested on March 16 and the 28 days lapsed on Thursday last week.Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Rangarirai Gakanje, however, dismissed the application saying Bernstein cannot be released before determination of extradition.
In response, Mr Mvhiringi said the ruling was not fair to the accused as it “seriously offends justice.”
Prosecuting, Mr Takunda Ndovorwi told the court that the State had been granted permission by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to apply for Bernstein’s extradition.
The case was rolled over to this Friday.
Charges levelled against Bernstein in the neighbouring country are that he stole some money from his employer.
“Between April 7, 2009 and November 27, 2015 and at Danger Golf Estate in Gauteng Province, the accused took cash amounting to R4 214 177,52 which belonged to Dainfern Golf Estate and Country Club Home Owners Association.
“During same period, he misrepresented that he was authorised to cause payment to be effected to First National Bank of South Africa for maintenance work and defrauded the company of R6 616 172,39,” prosecutors allege.
Bernstein was allegedly found in possession of a radio he allegedly stole from the company before escaping. The Herald