The attempt by accused murderer and controversial businessman, Mark Lifman to have his bail conditions amended as “he desires to explore business opportunities in Türkiye, Dubai, China, and Hong Kong”, has failed in the Western Cape High Court.
Lifman, who is currently out on R100 000 bail and faces nine criminal charges, sought in his application to add to his bail deposit an additional amount of R150 000 in cash and that his passport be returned to him.
He further sought an order which would allow him to apply for a new passport. The State opposed his application.
Lifman, who is accused with 15 others of the murder of Brian “Steroid King” Wainstein and various counts of conspiracy to murder, as well as contraventions of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, argued that the State’s case against him was “weak”.
In his submissions to the court after his arrest in December 2020, Lifman submitted that “he accepted the bail conditions of handing in his passport as there were still large-scale travel bans and restrictions imposed on international travel from South Africa due to COVID-19”.
He was “confident that in due course he would be able to disprove his alleged involvement in the charges levelled against him.
In 2021, he had also applied for his bail conditions to be amended so that he may travel to Türkiye where he was offered a consulting position for him to assist in the business of importing textile fabric to South Africa. He said he “personally wanted to see whether the fabric was worth importing”.
Senior State advocate, Mervyn Menigo, submitted that if Lifman was allowed to travel internationally, “it would result in substantial prejudice to the State and its witnesses”.
He added that at the time of his arrest, Lifman “had the ability and substantial means to flee through the borders of South Africa to a jurisdiction where there would be great difficulty in securing his return to South Africa”.
Judge Dumisani Lekhuleni said: “Furthermore, counsel argued that the poor level of co-operation between Türkiye and Dubai, two of the destinations listed by (Lifman) in his application, are such that it could be a lengthy procedure to ensure his extradition, with no guarantee of success.
“(This) is evidenced by the fact that the Turkish authorities offered no genuine assistance in returning the wanted suspect in this matter, one Mr Kishor Naidoo. This court was also referred to the failed attempt to extradite the Gupta brothers from Dubai...“Lifman alleges that he wishes to explore business opportunities in the countries mentioned above without providing any detail on the nature of the prejudice he would suffer should he be denied these opportunities.
“There is no clear indication why the applicant needs to explore these opportunities in person. It is not clearly explained why an agent or proxy cannot explore these opportunities on behalf of the applicant.
Based on my assessment; I seriously doubt the applicant's genuineness and authenticity,” said Judge Lekhuleni.