DURBAN - A SEX worker and former colleague who lived with murdered Siam Lee has claimed her alleged killer was a drug kingpin in the industry, and fears that the ongoing investigation is mired in a cover-up.
“He was not a client or a stalker. He manufactured crystal meth (methamphetamine) and was well known in sex and drug circles. I had known him even before I started to work at the Margaret Maytom Avenue house,” said the 31-year-old woman who asked not be named.
PI company under scrutiny in Siam Lee accused bail application
Durban – The manner in which a private investigations company arrested an accused in the Siam Lee murder case took centre stage on the first day of the accused's bail application in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Magistrate Mahommed Motala banned private investigator Brad Nathanson and anyone from his company from attending the proceedings, because they were witnesses.
Lee's burnt body was found in a sugarcane field in New Hanover after she had gone missing early in January.
The accused cannot be identified because he has not yet pleaded. He faces charges 16 charges, including rape, murder and kidnapping.
In court on Monday, the accused's legal representative Martin Krog, kept his focus on the arrest of his client and drilled holes in the procedure the private company used to make the "arrest".
It was widely publicised that Nathanson and his team had made the arrest in the case.
The accused told the court that he had returned home from Johannesburg when he was confronted by Nathanson, Nathanson's wife and Nathanson's associate Wayne Britz.
He said he had arrived home in a hired car on January 17 to find a Mercedes Vito parked in his garage was missing.
As he tried to get his cellphone from his car, a gold Toyota Fortuner pulled up.
"A white gentleman, whom I now know as Brad Nathanson, stepped out, pointed a gun at me and his immediate words were: 'Open the gate, mother****er'."
'Lay down flat on the floor'
The accused claimed that Britz also got out his car and pointed a firearm at him.
"After Britz got out, Britz said: 'If you don't open this ****ing gate, I will shoot you'. Fearing for my life, I opened the gate. They then told me to come forward. I walked towards them. I asked them what is the point, who are they, what is going on. They said: 'Lay down flat on the floor'. Nathanson came to handcuff me."
Krog then presented the court with a picture of the arrest that Nathanson had posted on his Facebook page.
"It is clear that you can see my client's face in the picture. He is posing for it," Krog said.
Krog's client said Nathanson and Britz "manhandled" him and moved him toward his house.
"They then told me: 'You murdered Siam Lee'. I said I never murdered anyone in my life or the person mentioned. They said again: 'Mother****er, you killed Siam Lee and you better start talking or we will **** you up'."
Both Britz and Nathanson choked and punched him, he testified.
"They were in my house and I could hear them calling out to search here and there."
Krog replied: "So they searched your house without asking you?"
'Confess to killing Siam Lee or leave in a body bag' – police allegedly tell accused
Durban – The involvement of a KwaZulu-Natal private investigating company in the arrest of the accused in the Siam Lee murder remained the theme for the first day of his bail application.
Defence lawyer Advocate Martin Krog picked excerpts from posts on the Facebook page of Brad Nathanson Investigations, the company that seemingly played a leading role in the arrest of Lee's alleged killer.
"We know that not every problem may be solved through rational disclosure. Some may be solved by application of force," was one of the lines quoted from Nathanson's Facebook page before court.
Earlier in the day, Krog kept his focus on the arrest of his client, drilling holes in the procedure used by the private company to make the "arrest". His client testified that Nathanson was with him at his home for up to an hour before police arrived.
Krog had his client, who cannot be named as he has not pleaded to the rape charge, explain how police, during his arrest, allegedly attempted to coach him into a specific confession.
In the second session of the day, the accused testified that even after police arrived at his home to arrest him, Nathanson and his team remained in the vicinity.
Claims of police brutality
He claimed that police threatened him when they arrived.
"They told me I was going to leave confessing to killing Siam Lee or I was going to leave in a body bag (sic). There were exact things they wanted me to say."
He then went on to accuse police of brutality.
"When I refused to confess, a police officer went to a car and fetched an evidence bag. They used that to put it over my face and they strangled me with it twice outside."
The accused said that was when a team of forensic experts arrived to search his house and car, both allegedly without his permission or documentation.
"They found items in my car and my house and they made me stand next to them while they took pictures."
Nathanson at identity parade
He added: "When we left the house, some of the items recovered by the forensics team were taken by Brad Nathanson. They just gave it to him."
At the Durban North police station, where he was first detained, the accused said he was paraded in front of men wearing Marshall Security golf shirts.
"A female police woman came and asked if I could step outside. I got up and walked out, there was a group of four or five white men wearing golf T-shirts saying Marshall Security. The lady who opened the cells said this is the guy for Siam Lee (sic)."
He said a few days later, during an identity parade, Nathanson was once again at the Durban North police station.
The accused said police had also initially refused to let him speak with his lawyer prior to the parade.
"The investigating officer stepped outside and did something, came back inside and he said: 'Your lawyer says he is at church'. I said: 'I would like you to phone him and put him on loud speaker'. There was an argument between me and the officer."
'He could only have got that from my phone'
He said his attorney was eventually notified.
Krog went on to display a picture in court of the accused that was allegedly on Nathanson's Facebook page. The accused said the picture was only on his phone.
"He could only have got that from my phone. I do not have any social media whatsoever."
Lee went missing early in January. Her body was eventually found in a cane field in New Hanover.
The matter continues on Thursday, where the accused will be cross-examined by the prosecution.
Accused's alleged shoddy business dealings emerge in Siam Lee case
Durban – The man accused of murdering KwaZulu-Natal woman Siam Lee will spend another month in jail after his bail application was adjourned to April.
It was a tedious second day of the much-anticipated bail application for the 29-year-old man. The prosecution focused largely on his business dealings, confirming details of his address and directorship at various companies.
The man owns a diesel processing plant called Better Fuels, based in Johannesburg, and the State focused on the environmental contraventions in relation to the plant.
Prosecutor Surekha Marimuthoo told the court that the businessman had evaded a state official from the Department of Environmental Affairs who had attempted to reel in his company's alleged wrongdoings.
Defence lawyer Advocate Martin Krog questioned why this was a point of discussion, but Magistrate Mahomed Moutala explained: "It is to demonstrate his interaction with government. It is an example of his character that will affect his bail application."
Marimuthoo submitted an affidavit from the official whom the accused allegedly prevented from searching his factory.
'You cannot come here and ramble on and on'
In the affidavit the official labels the man as uncooperative and evasive.
"You refused to take her calls and you prevented her from searching your factory when she came through with a search warrant, you did not allow her to do her job," Marimuthoo commented on the affidavit.
The accused responded by questioning the official's procedure.
"She does not know how my business works. She does not understand how the factory has to operate. When she came through her warrant was not up to scratch and I got my attorneys involved."
Moutala however lambasted him saying he should have spoken to the official instead of evading her calls.
"She has levelled very serious allegations against you sir. Perhaps you should have spoken to her before she had to come to you. You are questioning her knowledge of your factory when this is her mandate. This is what she does."
During back and forth exchanges throughout the day, the man's long drawn out explanations were also criticised.
"You can only answer questions... You cannot come here and ramble on and on. It is pertinent for the court to move forward and you will have to be more concise," Moutala said.
Lee went missing early in January and was eventually found in a cane field in New Hanover.
SiamLee accused had been in hot water with government
DURBAN - The man accused of Siam Lee’s murder had been in hot water with the Department of Environment and Water Affairs over complaints that employees of his oil business had allegedly been throwing oil into a river, the Durban Magistrate’s Court heard on Thursday.
He had been dealing with the issue through his lawyers before being arrested in January and had also moved the Gauteng company, Better Fuels, from Germiston to Westonaria.
From the witness stand during a bail application, he told the court during cross-examination by prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu about various companies that had been registered under his name, which she had presented to him.
He said the department had considered charging his company and that there had been a lengthy exchange between it and his lawyers who accused the department’s staff of harassing his staff.
Durban PI refutes torture allegations of Siam Lee murder accused
Private investigator Brad Nathanson has poured cold water on allegations of torture‚ evidence tampering and the unlawful arrest of a man alleged to have kidnapped and murdered Durban escort Siam Lee.
The 29-year-old businessman‚ who is facing a raft of charges including rape‚ cannot yet be named.
After more than a month in custody‚ the state’s prime suspect applied for bail in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday.
The man‚ who faces sixteen charges relating to the murder of Lee as well as his alleged interactions with two other women‚ spent the lion’s share of his time in the witness box sledging Nathanson‚ who along with his team had affected his arrest.
This article names the defendant as Philani Ntuli. Since his name's already all over the place I'm not sure why the news24 articles insist on leaving it out.
I googled Better Fuels, the company that the above articles say he owns, and came up with a fraud allegation from April 2017 which also names Philani Ntuli. There are some interesting comments on that page (cntr-F Tumi1121) but it would be foolish to believe everything you read.
Tissue company fraud comments here
Google Philani Ntuli and the [url="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cebolenkosi_Ntuli]B.Sc Chem[/url] seems to confirm who the guy is.
DURBAN - ANOTHER woman has come forward, claiming to have been raped by the man accused of abducting and murdering Durban North woman Siam Lee.
The accused, a 29-year-old Assagay businessman, is expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court this week for the resumption of his formal bail hearing.
The alleged rape victim, 28, claims to have been a former employee of the accused. The alleged rape occurred six years ago. The Johannesburg woman said she was locked in a room and repeatedly raped by the businessman who is now accused of Lee’s murder.
She added that she was “too scared to open a case” at the time, but now felt more confident that the man had been arrested and charged with Lee’s murder and another rape.
Durban - More than 10 cases of fraud have been opened against the 29-year-old man accused of the murder of Siam Lee.
This was revealed during his bail application at the Durban Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The cases against man - who cannot be named due to a pending rape case- relate to his fuel business operating in Gauteng. As such, six of the cases were reported at different police stations in that province, while four were reported in Inanda, KwaDukuza, Madadeni and Umbilo.
Car at centre of #SiamLee murder bought fraudulently, says bank
DURBAN - The car used to allegedly abduct Durban North woman Siam Lee had been acquired fraudulently, the Durban Magistrates Court heard on Friday.
Lee was abducted from an alleged Durban North brothel on January 4. Her charred body was discovered on a farm in New Hanover, in the Natal Midlands, two days later.
A black Mercedes Benz allegedly driven by a 29-year-old accused, who cannot be named as he faces a rape charge, was used in the crime.
Snacks for the drive and a jersey for alleged Siam Lee 'killer'
The bail application of the man accused of the kidnapping and murder of Durban escort Siam Lee got off to a stilted start in the Durban Regional court – with allegations of a cosy relationship with a prison boss brought into sharp focus on Thursday.
The businessman’s bid for bail‚ adjourned twice already and set down for three days this week‚ began at 2pm on Thursday.
Prosecutor in Siam Lee case suggests she may have been killed at suspect's home, court hears
The charge sheet alleges that young Durban escort Siam Lee was murdered in a secluded sugarcane field in New Hanover where the charred remains of her body were found.
But on Friday, prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu suggested that the crime had actually been committed at a house on Controversy Road, Assagay.
This is the home of the man accused of the crime and where he was eventually arrested after a massive manhunt following Lee's abduction in Durban North in January this year.
Her body was found about a week later.
The accused, who is also facing an unrelated rape charge, is applying for bail before Durban Magistrate Mohamed Motala and has been under cross-examination for some days.
In his evidence, he declined to go into the merits of the case, but alleged that he had been assaulted by private investigator Brad Nathanson who had "ambushed" him at his home on January 17 upon his return from a Johannesburg business trip.
DURBAN - Tempers flared over three days in the Durban Magistrate’s Court in the bail hearing of the man accused of murdering Durban North woman Siam Lee, 20.
Lee, who would have celebrated her 21st birthday last Sunday, was abducted from an alleged Durban North brothel on January 4. Her charred body was discovered on a farm in New Hanover in the Natal Midlands two days later.
The accused Assagay businessman faces a raft of charges. These include the murder and kidnapping of Lee and the rape of another woman. Police are also investigating a number of cases of alleged fraud.
Electric fault at court postpones bail bid for murder accused
DURBAN - The bail application of the 29-year-old man accused of murdering Durban North woman Siam Lee entered day six in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and was cut short by an electrical fault at the building.
The case dragged on for the first half of the day with no new information emerging in court since the morning.
The murder accused is alleged to have abducted Lee from a Durban North brothel on January 4. Lee's charred body was discovered on a farm in New Hanover, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, two days later. The accused was arrested shortly after by private investigators at his Assagay home.
In court, the state cross-examined the accused about the day of his arrest in an attempt to prove that he had exaggerated allegations that he was assaulted by the arresting team.
Siam Lee murder accused silent on rape‚ kidnapping and theft allegations
The man accused of the kidnapping and murder of escort Siam Lee refused to answer questions about the alleged rape of a sex worker in 2016 in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
The 29-year-old businessman faces charges of kidnapping and murder relating to Lee‚ who disappeared from a Durban North brothel in January. The charred remains of her body were found in a sugarcane field near New Hanover two days after she vanished.
The man - prone to vocal exchanges with prosecutor Surekha Marimuthoo - was mum as allegations were fired at him in the witness box. He cannot be named until he pleads to the rape charge.