Was the Krejcir case a stitch up?

By News24
24 Jul 2019 0

Nearly four years after being convicted and sent to prison, Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir and his co-accused are on the offensive, claiming the case against them was an elaborate set up by police and politicians.

They have turned to the courts, the state capture commission of inquiry, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shamila Batohi, President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the police’s watchdog unit.

IPID says its investigation into their claims is at an advanced stage and will be referred to the NPA for prosecution.

At the heart of their complaint are allegations that the case against them was a conspiracy, that evidence was fabricated, that they were tortured while in custody and that witnesses were paid to lie and coached.

In 2015, Judge Colin Lamont on the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg found Krejcir guilty of attempted murder and kidnapping, and sentenced him to an effective 35 years in prison. Convicted along with him were Desai Luphondo, taxi owner Siboniso Miya and Hawks officers Samuel Saddam Maropeng, Jan Mofokeng and Jeff Nthoroane.

The court found that they had been involved in the abduction of Bheki Lukhele and poured hot water over his head in an attempt to recover 25kg of tik (a form of methamphetamine) which Lukhele’s brother Doctor allegedly stole.

Krejcir, several co-accused in the Lukhele case, and former Crime Intelligence officer Nandi Nkosi are also still on trial for plotting to assassinate forensic consultant Paul O’Sullivan and policeman Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba. They’re also charged with the 2013 murder of Lebanese drug dealer Sam Issa in Bedfordview.

The IPID investigation

IPID has confirmed that it is investigating charges of perjury, fraud, corruption, defeating the ends of justice, assault and conspiracy against the police as per a case opened in Katlehong. The six – Krejcir, Luphondo, Miya, Maropeng, Mofokeng and Nthoroane – and others are complainants or victims in this case.

“IPID is investigating the case; the investigation is at an advanced stage. It will be referred to the NPA for a decision,” says spokesperson Moses Dlamini. He adds that while some police officers are co-operating, others are not.

Crime Intelligence officers, national detectives and the Tactical Response Team (TRT) are among those who are the subject of the investigation.

IPID has sent a detailed list of 90 questions to three Crime Intelligence officers and they have been asked to respond to warning statements.

In the questions, which News24 has seen, the full extent of the conspiracy claim is set out.

The complainants allege that during the month of June 2013, senior members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) “colluded with other law enforcement agencies and conspired and succeeded in getting them convicted and sentenced on the crimes that they did not commit”.

They go on to allege that those responsible were then national police commissioner Rhiya Phiyega, former head of detectives General Vinesh Moonoo, Colonel Ximba, investigating officers Captain Bongani Gininda and Captain Freddy Ramohala, as well as prosecutor Louis Mashiane, among others.

They also claim that two key witnesses in the case against them were paid to testify and that: “There was a workshop that took place for three months that was preparing witnesses for court. The workshop was at Rhiya Phiyega’s office. The workshop was to coach/inform the witnesses of what to say in court to falsely incriminate them during the trial.”

The case for Krejcir and his co-accused

In various affidavits sent to IPID and used in multiple court applications, the accused set out why they believe they should not be in jail.

Firstly, they believe that a proper identity parade was not held. Instead, witnesses were asked to point at the accused during court proceedings and this “affected the fairness of the trial”.

Then, Hawks officers Maropeng and Nthoroane allege that their cellphone records and the movement reports of their state vehicle indicate they were not at the scene of the crime.

They also allege that Ramohala, the investigating officer, did not obtain statements from all the witnesses and: “There is no evidence in the docket that implicates the complainants by full names or description.”

Instead, they paint a picture of a criminal organisation run by Ximba and that other police officers who were working with him, named “Phiri”, “Phume” and “Kaizer”, were actually responsible for the crime.

Krejcir, in his statement, lays out the background to what he believes is the motive for the conspiracy against him. He claims Ximba was extorting money from his friend so he arranged to meet the police officer at Oyo Restaurant in Bedfordview where he “told the hitman police officer Mr Ximba to fuck off”.

Krejcir also recounts how he had become close to former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and how he had reached an agreement with him that he would pay him R5m to help him obtain asylum papers.

Krejcir alleges that he went to Nkandla to meet the former president in February 2011. He gave R2.5m in cash to Duduzane but their relationship fell apart after their mutual friend, security operative Cyril Beeka, was killed. As a result of no action, Krejcir wanted his money back from Zuma.

“I think this was as a result of a broken relationship between me and Mr Duduzani (sic) Zuma, the fact that I demanded my 2.5 million back from him. The other factor that contributed to my arrest is that I refused to be a cash cow for Mr Ximba to pay him money like other business people did. I also warned Mr Ximba that he should stop extorting money from my friends and that I never wanted to work with him… It is my view that all these people conspired to get me arrested after there were two attempts to get me killed Mr. Ximba, was the main person leading the investigation team,” explained Krejcir.

Duduzane Zuma has never responded to the claims. When City Press first published Krejcir’s claims a spokesperson for the former president and Duduzane did not respond to questions sent via text and email.

Peter and Paul were paid

The complainants allege that one of the State’s key witnesses against them, Peter Vusi Msimango, confirmed receiving the amount of R300 000 as part of payment for testifying.

They further allege that Msimango is now “feeling aggrieved” because he was not paid the money promised to him in full, and that he and another witness, Paul Mthabela, have now turned to the courts to try force the police to pay him the remainder.

News24 has been provided with a copy of what appears to be Msimango and Mthabela’s ex parte application at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. However, the affidavits supporting the application have apparently been removed from the court records.

Luphondo alleges that Msimango, a self-confessed criminal, now wants to reveal the truth and expose all the role players. However, he wants Luphondo and the other complainants to pay him R200 000 to do so.

News24 has repeatedly approached Msimango for comment on this but he has not been available. In 2017, he requested payment for an interview, which was declined.

In his 2015 judgment, Lamont granted both Msimango and Mthabela indemnity from prosecution. (The judge did not respond to a WhatsApp request for comment as he is not permitted to publicly discuss his rulings.)

“I accept Peter’s evidence. It is cogently coherent and accounts with the probabilities,” ruled Lamont.

He also addressed the issue that there was no identity parade.

“In my view, these are all highly speculative submissions. All of the witnesses who gave evidence as to the identity of the accused in my view, attempted of their own accord to describe and relate how the particular accused was involved and why they said he was involved.”

Lamont also addressed the allegation that Ximba was involved in crime and was the architect of the case.

“His participation in the events is irrelevant. Even if he was a participant, the fact that he was not charged in the present matter has no impact on the facts or whether or not the offences were committed…The evidence concerning Ximba paints him as a shadowy figure who is mentioned as entering and exiting various scenes but who plays no visible role. The accused suggested Peter manufactured facts. There is no evidence that he did so. The facts I accept are ascertainable on well corroborated detailed evidence and the probabilities.”

Must ‘be tested in court’

Both the police and the NPA are not entertaining these latest claims of a conspiracy or falsified evidence.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo says they view the allegations as frivolous.

“Radovan Krejcir and his co-accused have been tried, found guilty and sentenced in a court of law. I am not aware of their allegations and that those allegations are being investigated by IPID. If this is true, then the investigation must take its course and be tested in court should this matter reach that level,” Naidoo said.

The NPA’s Phindi Mjonondwane said the accused must follow the court process.

“The matter has been finalised and the people mentioned are serving sentences. If they are aggrieved by the finding of the courts, they should appeal. We know that these people have filed motion applications and made representations to the NDPP. They must approach the courts for relief. As the NPA, we do not comment on matters which are currently before courts and/or receiving further investigations,” says Mjonondwane.

Lamont refused an application for leave to appeal and the accused’s attempt to directly petition the Supreme Court of Appeal was also dismissed.

Commenting from prison, Siboniso Miya said he firmly believes they were framed to bring down Krejcir: “Whoever needed to get rid of Krejcir and who best to frame than taxi boss. Evidence is twisted left out to make sure we don’t get out of jail. Why is the conspiracy to kill Paul and Ximba has never started since 2014 coz they’ve fabricated all the cases. Their docket contradict itself so  I want the ipid ,bheki cele to allocate honest investigaters to review all the dockets and trial the right people and not relying on 204 on hearsay evidence. I can tell you on record I never told anyone anything and if they want my side of the story I’m willing to tell it but only to new investigators. I’ve approached presidency, ipid,batohi and Rnational commissioner although I know they part of this conspiracy. (sic)”

Ximba, who is now Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina’s security chief, declined to respond to questions. So too, did other police officers who are under IPID investigation.

However, one policeman, who was directly involved in the initial investigation and who asked not to be named, says the latest claims smack of desperation. DM