Why can’t we catch Krejcir?

2012-10-14 10:00
If Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela is correct, and “everyone knows (Czech fugitive Radovan) Krejcir is a criminal”, then why can’t we catch him and lock him up?

It’s a pity that Polela’s bravado is not emulated by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) when it comes to actually putting these high-profile “criminals” behind bars.

The embarrassing withdrawal of armed robbery charges against Krejcir this week is just the latest example of recent failures by our criminal justice system to bring alleged criminal masterminds to book.

This poses a poignant question: do we have the necessary skills and capacity to catch and prosecute smart, rich suspects?

The list of high-profile cases that have been botched by the authorities is growing by the day. Krejcir has now been charged twice – first for fraud and then for armed robbery – and walked free on both occasions. His extradition hearing has been dragging on for five years.

Then there is the Brett Kebble case.

Empire K, as the Scorpions’ investigation into his affairs was called, died with the crack unit.

Efforts to extradite his business partner John Stratton have so far been unsuccessful.

The state made a mess of Glenn Agliotti’s prosecution for Kebble’s murder and is yet to charge him with corrupting Jackie Selebi.

Recently, billionaire Dave King and strip-club owner Andrew Phillips – two more alleged “champagne criminals” – were freed by the courts after the NPA botched their cases.

And then there are all the arms-deal matters that are yet to be prosecuted.

At what point does Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and his colleague, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, acknowledge that we have a crisis on our hands?

And what are they doing about it?