No miracle for Mr Miracle 2000
MIRACLE 2000 pyramid scheme mastermind Sibusiso Radebe, in custody since November last year, suffered yet another setback when his third bail application was denied and his trial was set down for February next year.
Radebe (50) said this week he intended to plead not guilty to charges of R5m fraud, R9m theft and contravening the Bank Act during his trial.
During his application for bail, the divorced father of three said he was a changed man and was a model citizen who would not evade trial.
He was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to five years suspended for three years for operating Miracle 2000.
"The charges against me are vague, nonsensical, contradictory and don't total the amounts reflected in the charge sheet," he said.
Members of the intelligence services swooped on Radebe's Spruitview home in November last year and confiscated R235000 in cash and receipts following complaints by his investors that he had vanished without paying them.
His offices at Carlton Centre in the Joburg CBD were under lock and key and the business telephone numbers had changed.
Radebe is charged, along with his ex-wife Phindile, who is in custody after she too was denied bail, and her father Benson Kamotso.
The state alleges the accused committed the crimes between 2003 and 2006.
Investigating officer colonel Solomon Molele testified that he received complaints from investors that Phindile and Kamotso had been collecting money from investors for a pyramid scheme masterminded by Radebe while in jail.
Molele testified that the monies were deposited in an FNB account belonging to Phindile called "Miracle Solutions".
The court heard that Radebe opened another scheme called "Club 1000" when he was released on parole in 2003.
"However, in the year 2007 the suspects were nowhere to be found by investors," said Molele in his testimony.
Molele said that while out on bail in 2000, Radebe allegedly operated a scheme called "Inala".
He said the accused later changed the name of Club 1000 to "Miujiza" Sababu, a Swahili name for Miracle 2000.
"The community will be in danger if Radebe is released on bail because he will begin to take their money again.
"Most of his investors are pensioners," said Molele.
However, Radebe criticised the state's case and pleaded to be released on bail.
Radebe said he was being persecuted by Molele and said the businesses he conducted were legitimate investment ventures.
"My continued incarceration will serve to punish me for a crime that I did not commit," he said.
State advocate Nduvheni Mulangaphume opposed bail, saying there was a likelihood that Radebe would commit these offences.
On denying him bail, magistrate Bria Luit said: "The court is satisfied that the interests of society will be served if the accused is not released on bail."