Police Release Freshlyground Guitarist From Custody

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Police have confirmed that the guitarist from South African Afro-fusion band, Freshlyground, Christian Bakalanga, has been released from custody.

Bakalanga who was taken into custody last week at O.R Tambo International Airport for travelling on a ‘fake’ visa is no longer in police custody. So far, no charges have been laid. However, police did say that the Congolese national faced deportation.

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Speaking on the case on Tuesday, Tembisa police spokesperson Patricia Mgijama confirmed that the arrest adding that the guitarist had been stopped by police and home affairs officials at the airport and was later arrested for being in possession of an alleged illegal document.



“He is currently in custody and we cannot confirm when he will appear in court. We are still waiting for home affairs to confirm whether he will face a charge of fraud or be deported. Only once that information has been provided to us can we go forward with a court date,” Patricia said.

The guitarist reportedly approached a lawyer to handle the visa for him, claiming that he had no idea that it was “fake”. The drama unfolded when his visa expired and in the bid to avoid the long queue at Home Affairs office, Christian decided to go through the supposed lawyers who issued him a fake visa. Consequently, Freshlyground said on Tuesday that it intends to take legal action against the ‘fake’ lawyer for securing the “fake” visa for Bakalanga.

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“A criminal case has been laid against the immigration practitioner who facilitated the alleged false permit for Chris. Management will not tolerate fraudulent actions by service providers and/ or its members,” the group said. Nevertheless, it’s unclear if any charges have been laid to that effect.