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SA safer without Radovan Krejcir

Independent forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan yesterday said the longer Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir stays off the streets through postponed bail applications, the better.

“It is in the interest of the public that he must be kept off the streets,” said O’Sullivan, who added the case against Krejcir appeared to be going the way it should be.

“We just need the witnesses to stick to their story. Let the criminal justice system take its course and wait for justice to be done,” said O’Sullivan, who said South Africa should not be seen as a lawless country.

“Perhaps people are prepared to wave money at corrupt lawyers, cops and officials, but eventually the long of the arm catches up with them.”

Senior State Advocate Louis Mashiane yesterday tore into the bail application by Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, and East Rand Organised Crime Unit police officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane.

“This is the man who says, please, grant me bail, I’ll stick around,” he said.

The four are facing charges in the Palm Ridge Regional Court, east of Johannesburg, for the kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder of an East Rand man in June. An alleged R24m drug deal involving 25kg of Crystal Meth apparently soured when a person named only as “Doctor” disappeared with the money, after having apparently given Luphondo a receipt for the drugs.

The Krejcir four are accused of pouring boiling water over Doctor’s brother’s head in an attempt to torture Doctor’s location out of him.

In response to torture allegations by Krejcir, Mashiane said it was a trend for Krejcir to be arrested, and then claim assault.

“The reason Krejcir was not taken to a police station straight away, and was taken to various places, is because the police were looking for Luphondo. There is nothing wrong with that. As soon as both men were in custody they were detained.”

All four bail applicants remain in custody until tomorrow (Friday) as Magistrate Reginald Dama wanted to hear from the investigating officer.

“The facts are very clear, this man and his wife have several passports under various identities,” said Mashiane.

During his rebuttal of the defence team’s case which asked for evidence of “falsified passports”, Mashiane made pointed reference to Krejcir’s hearing during 2007 when he applied for asylum in South Africa and said court records showed that Krejcir and his wife had their Seychelles passports returned to them.

He also noted that in the affidavit of that hearing, Krejcir made reference to having obtained a false passport through friends.

“Where are these passports? He said his mother lent him R40m, he has friends who can arrange false passports, he is a man without means?” said an incredulous Mashimane of the court. “He has two passports unaccounted for but states in his founding affidavit he has nowhere to go? Who is fooling who here?”

The defence attorneys challenged Mashiane to produce evidence of claims the four were involved in an alleged scheme to send 25kg of Crystal Meth, worth an apparent R24m to Australia. In his attempt to do so, the defence team vehemently opposed him, and the magistrate sided with them.

Andre Steenkamp, defence for Luphondo, was dealt a blow yesterday when the court turned down an application to access his client’s alleged confession, saying it would be prejudicial to the state. This was because the State still had outstanding suspects, said Mashiane.

It was revealed on Monday police were still searching for at least one more suspect, also a member of the same East Rand Organised Crime Unit as Maropeng and Nthoroane. The officers are alleged to have assisted in the finding and subsequent torture of the complainant for Luphondo, who the State claims was Krejcir’s “pusher”.

By Amanda Watson
The Citizen 05/12/13
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