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Ex-policeman is linked to cellphone pinging of murdered...

Maverick Citizen

AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Ex-policeman is linked to cellphone pinging of murdered Anti-Gang Unit boss Charl Kinnear

Suspect Zane Kilian leaves the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

Investigators were able to draw this correlation after police established that the cellphone of murdered Johannesburg anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi was allegedly pinged 635 times by the former policeman.

Murder accused Zane Kilian allegedly used a platform (app) controlled by a former Gauteng police officer to carry out pings that indicated the nearest tower to the cellphone of the murdered Anti-Gang Unit Section Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear.

An investigation by Maverick Citizen has revealed that Kilian is one of several individuals and corrupt police officers who used the platform to intercept the phones of prominent people, including those of Kinnear and lawyer William Booth. One police officer is said to owe the former Gauteng police officer in the region of R4,000 for credits purchased for usage of the platform.

Pinging a device means sending it a message or signal via cellphone signal towers. This signal is then returned with the device’s exact location information. It also assists in finding out the device’s last active location. The pinging technology works with a device’s GPS location systems installed and activated in it. The GPS location systems work in collaboration with tracking software and other tools to help locate the device’s position with accuracy.

Investigators were able to draw this correlation after police established that the cellphone of murdered Johannesburg anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, 57, was allegedly pinged 635 times by the ex-policeman. His identity is known to Maverick Citizen, but cannot be revealed until he has been formally charged. 

Last week Germiston police gained access to the ex-policeman’s laptop, cellphone and banking details to have a closer look at who else he pinged. He was interviewed by investigators and gave police a statement, said investigators.

In September 2020 Munshi was shot six times in an apparent hit in Orange Grove, Johannesburg. His attackers rammed into the rear of his car and shot him six times in the back of the head. Munshi was the co-accused in a culpable homicide case with Dr Peter Beale. The pair were blamed for the death of Zayyaan Sayed, 10, following surgery at the Netcare Park Lane Hospital in October last year.

The number of corrupt police officers using the platform of the ex-policeman and the 20 corrupt police officers arrested along with alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack on gun licence charges shows the magnitude of the investigation by Kinnear. It paints a grim picture of the corrupt relationship between police officers and underworld figures.

A top detective said: “The death of Kinnear not just opened the window to show the level of police corruption, but also the gravity of pinging. We have only touched the surface in the Kinnear and Booth cases as far as pinging is concerned. This is a much bigger problem and more people could be drawn into illegal communication interception that resulted in the deaths of several people.”

Legal experts say the revelation of the ex-policeman’s involvement has the potential to blow open the case the State has instituted against Kilian in the Kinnear matter. Kilian is facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and the illegal interception of communication relating to the assassination of Kinnear on 18 September outside his house at 10 Gearing Road, Bishop Lavis.

Kilian’s lawyer Eric Breyer has gone on record saying that his client carried out 10,000 pings. Legal experts suggest that individuals who carried out pinging that resulted in the death of or serious injuries to an individual should cooperate with the prosecution. 

It is common knowledge that Kilian pinged Kinnear’s phone 2,116 times and it is Kilian’s own version that he was asked by a Mr Mohamad to ping the phone of his unfaithful wife and that he wasn’t aware that he was tracking Kinnear’s phone.

Private investigators explained that once the owner of the platform receives a request he will create a username and a password for individuals to use the platform and purchase credits for pinging purposes.

But private investigator John Alexander said: “Protocol dictates that before a username and password is created, the owner of the platform-app should carry out a thorough background check on the applicant. He is supposed to find out if an applicant is a registered private investigative officer at the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) and doesn’t have a criminal record.”

Last month Kilian had, via his counsel, advocate Eckhard Rosemann, handed in documents at the Bishop Lavis Magistrates’ Court showing that he was a registered private investigator with PSIRA and entitled to track phones. But the State has since established the documents were not authentic and has added a charge of fraud to his charge sheet.

The ex-policeman could also be implicated in the charges that Kilian is facing. If he had carried out a thorough check on Kilian he would have established that Kilian was not a registered private investigator. Legal experts said that if the ex-policeman was aware of Kilian’s malicious intention then he will face the full might of the law.

Kilian’s name was also added as the sixth accused in a failed hit on the life of criminal lawyer William Booth and he is facing charges of attempted murder, a gang-related charge and one of unlawfully intercepting Booth’s cellphone. Booth survived the attempt on his life at his home in Higgovale in Cape Town in April this year and Kilian allegedly pinged his phone 500 times from March 2020 till September. 

Kilian’s lawyer Eric Breyer has gone on record saying that his client carried out 10,000 pings. Legal experts suggest that individuals who carried out pinging that resulted in the death of or serious injuries to an individual should cooperate with the prosecution. 

Maverick Citizen contacted the ex-policeman on Friday 30 October and his WhatsApp reply read: “I will be available on Monday,” but on Monday 2 November he failed to respond to phone calls and questions sent to him. DM/MC

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