Ipid is investigating claims that witnesses were paid and coached, and that the criminals were tortured in custody
In a last-ditch attempt to get out of jail, Radovan Krejcír’s six co-accused are claiming that former police commissioner Riah Phiyega and her former top cops allegedly fabricated information and coached witnesses for three months to get them behind bars.
This claim against Phiyega, former head of detectives Vinesh Moonoo and Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba is contained in more than 90 questions the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) sent to three Crime Intelligence Division officers in January.
Ipid is taking the claims so seriously that the officers have now been asked to respond to warning statements, the final step before being criminally charged and prosecuted.
The questions sent to Captain Candice Coetzee, Warrant Officer Desmond Campbell and Captain Bongani Yende are based on affidavits Ipid obtained from Krejcír’s co-accused in the case of the abduction and torture of Bheki Lukhele.
They include hitman Siboniso Miya, drug dealer Desai Luphondo, crime intelligence agent Nandi Nkosi, and former police officers Samuel Saddam Maropeng, Jan Mofokeng and Jeff Nthoroane.
Now, all of the former accused are separately accusing several police officers of corruption, perjury and defeating the ends of justice by “extracting evidence, which led to them being jailed, through torture”.
Torture is illegal and evidence obtained through it is inadmissible in court.
The warning statements Ipid obtained from Coetzee, Yende and Campbell form part of a larger investigation it launched in August into allegations that Krejcír and his co-accused were jailed after being tortured for evidence.
Ipid began its investigation after Krejcír deposed a 17-page affidavit claiming Ximba and the other officers tortured him after he was arrested in November 2013.
The statements before Ipid appear to suggest that, at the time, the state was so desperate to get Krejcír behind bars that the plan to do so went right to the top of the SA Police Service.
However, there are those who dismiss the statements entirely, saying Krejcír’s henchmen will do whatever it takes to get out of jail.
One of the statements sent to the three crime intelligence officers includes: “Luphondo alleges that [state witness Peter] Msimango wants to reveal the truth about how evidence was fabricated to incriminate them and that the people who were involved were ... Phiyega, Moonoo, Ximba, Captain [Bongani] Gininda, Captain [Walter] Mabuti, Captain [Freddy] Ramuhala and a certain [crime intelligence agent] Desmond Campbell.”
Another states: “Luphondo alleges that Msimango indicated that there was a workshop that took place for three months that was preparing witnesses for court and that the workshop was at Riah Phiyega’s office. The workshop was to coach or inform witnesses what to say in court to falsely incriminate them during the trial.”
Luphondo told Ipid that Msimango had been paid R300 000 for his testimony, but did not say who paid him.
Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed they were investigating cases of defeating the ends of justice, fraud, corruption and torture.
“There are multiple suspects. Witness statements were obtained from Krejcír’s co-accused. Suspect officers are from crime intelligence, the SA Police Service and a tactical response team,” he said.
“Warning statements were obtained from most of the suspects. However, Ramuhala, Ximba and others declined to give warning statements.
“Once the investigation is concluded, the investigating officer will make his statement and forward the docket to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision on prosecution.”
Dlamini said more witnesses were coming forward and Ipid was obtaining their statements.
Phiyega declined to comment, referring all questions to the police.
Ximba, who resigned from the Crime Intelligence Division in August to become Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s security chief, declined to comment, but said he was ready to testify in court.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said they were “not at liberty to comment on such a matter”, but “if there is indeed an investigation, the police will cooperate within the ambits of the law”.
In his statement to Ipid, Miya, who was reportedly Krejcír’s favourite hitman, claims that in about 2011 he was part of a gang that committed a series of robberies across the country and received protection from rogue crime intelligence agents.
He claimed the rogue officials included Ximba, Morris “KGB” Tshabalala, Yende, Campbell and Nkosi.
“The police officers used to provide us with information [on investigations] about the robberies we were committing. We would then organise some other members and the police would escort us to commit some of the robberies around the country,” Miya claimed.
“The money would be collected and given to the group leader, Ximba. The above groups of the police were protecting us from being arrested after the robberies were committing [sic]. Ximba was not coming to the [sic] robberies. He was only represented there by Phumlani and KGB Tshabalala.”
Miya claims that, in 2013, Ximba and other police officers arrested and tortured him while questioning him about the death of Lebanese drug dealer Sam Issa in 2013, and asked him to testify against Krejcír.
“In all my cases, the state does not have any evidence against me,” wrote Miya, adding that the state often relied on witnesses who had been offered immunity from prosecution.
In February 2015, Miya, Krejcír and two others were charged with Issa’s murder and they are now on trial.
. Nandi Nkosi: Former crime intelligence official charged alongside Krejcír and others for conspiring to kill Ximba and forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan.
. Samuel Saddam Maropeng, Jan Mofokeng and Jeff Nthoroane: Former police officials who helped Krejcír abduct and assault Lukhele.
. Warrant Officer Walter Mabuti: Police officer cited in Luphondo’s statement, and who investigated allegations that Krejcír’s mistress Marissa Christopher was involved in a foiled plot to help him escape jail.
. Captain Bongani Gininda: Police investigator who took a confession from Luphondo.
. Captain Freddy Ramuhala: The police detective who investigated Krejcír, Miya and Luphondo in connection with Lukhele’s kidnapping and the theft of tik.
. Radovan Krejcír, Siboniso Miya, Desai Luphondo and former police officers Samuel Saddam Maropeng, Jan Mofokeng and Jeff Nthoroane were arrested towards the end of 2013 for the abduction and torture of Lukhele.
. Krejcír wanted Lukhele to give up his brother, Doctor, who stole 25kg of the street drug tik from Krejcír, which Doctor had agreed to help him smuggle into Australia. Doctor worked for a shipping company in Johannesburg.
. Krejcír ordered Lukhele’s abduction, which the police officers facilitated, and he personally poured boiling water over Lukhele’s head during the torture.
. The group was prosecuted with the help of Peter Msimango, who was enlisted by a friend to help Krejcír, Luphondo and Miya find Doctor in Natalspruit, an area Msimango knows well.
. Krejcír was sentenced to 35 years in jail for his role in the crime. His co-accused received 15-year sentences.
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