A Sri Lankan in Namibia facing 1,516 criminal charges over the alleged cloning of bank cards during 2007, launched a renewed bail application yesterday.
With his trial scheduled to continue in the High Court in Windhoek from December 1, the Sri Lankan national Anthony Suresh Kumar Stanis (34) is now asking for bail.
Stanis has been kept in custody since his arrest on September 26 2007.
Stanis and five co-accused are charged with 1 516 counts, which include 1 032 charges of fraud, alternatively theft, and 474 charges of forgery.
The six charged men are alleged to have been part of a fraud ring that cloned bank cards and then used the cards at automated teller machines throughout Namibia to withdraw large amounts of cash – alleged to total some N$1,467 million – from the accounts of customers of British bank Barclays PLC.
Stanis and four of the other suspects pleaded not guilty to all of the charges when their trial started before Judge Alfred Siboleka on March 2 this year.
One of the accused men has been missing from the dock since February last year, though.
Amirthalingam Pugalnanthy, who is also a Sri Lankan citizen, would have been the first accused in the trial. He was released from custody after being granted bail in an amount of N$200 000 in December 2008, but is suspected to have fled from Namibia after he last reported to the Katutura Police Station on February 20 last year.
Stanis was refused bail when he first applied to be released from custody while the case was still pending in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
At the start of his renewed bail application yesterday, Stanis’s defence lawyer, Sisa Namandje, argued there was no evidence before the court so far during the trial to link Stanis to any of the charges he is facing. Namandje also charged that the Police officer who investigated the case had lied to the court during Stanis’s first bail hearing by testifying that Stanis had also faced similar charges in the United Kingdom.