Convicted criminal underworld boss Radovan Krejcír threatens to escape and embarrass state if he’s not extradited.
Crime boss Radovan Krejcír is demanding government extradite him to the Czech Republic or brace itself for the possibility that he could escape, an act that could “severely embarrass” authorities.
The demand is contained in a letter that Krejcír, through his attorneys, wrote to former justice and constitutional development minister Michael Masutha in August.
“Another unfortunate reality is that, for as long as Mr Krejcír is incarcerated in a South African prison with no imminent hope of parole, he will remain a high-risk candidate for escape. Should this event materialise, government will undoubtedly be severely embarrassed,” said the letter.
Government’s costly legal battles
Radovan Krejcír is not the only accused person for whom the government has forked out millions.
Taxpayers have spent more than R16 million to fend off efforts to reinstate charges of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering against former president Jacob Zuma.
The charges, which were withdrawn in 2009, had been slapped on Zuma in the middle of 2000.
Last week, the courts dismissed Zuma’s appeal against last year’s judgment, which ruled that he would have to pay the legal costs related to his case out of his own pocket.
In 2013, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) managed to bag a R700 million settlement from erstwhile tax fugitive Dave King, but it had already spent in excess of R200 million pursuing him.
King had founded a company called Specialised Outsourcing and listed it on the JSE at 50c per share.
He later sold the shares at about R70 each, making a tidy profit of more than a R1 billion.
He didn’t pay tax on his profits and Sars took him on.
His attorneys further wrote that, “on the contrary, if Mr Krejcír is extradited immediately, this threat will be permanently removed and so will the burden of having a crime boss and the most dangerous criminal” on our shores.
In February 2016, Krejcír was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and torture of Bheki Lukhele, whose brother, a man known only as Doctor, had vanished with 25kg of tik.
Doctor, who worked for a freight forwarding company, was supposed to help Krejcír ship the tik to Australia.
In the letter to Masutha, Krejcír’s attorneys also revealed that detention and incarceration had cost government about R200 million.
“We are reliably informed that Mr Krejcír has been a huge financial burden and drain on the fiscus. It is reported that, so far, his detention and incarceration have cost the South African taxpayers almost R200 million. If true, it is completely unjustified and irrational to spend such an amount of money on one prisoner who is a foreign national for that matter.
“The costs incurred or to be incurred by the state to secure his attendance for his criminal trials, including his medical costs” will most likely be significant.
Considering the amount that has been spent, it is “simply irrational and undesirable to have Mr Krejcír in a South African prison a day longer”.
Not the department of justice and constitutional development nor National Prosecuting Authority nor the department of correctional services had statistics readily available about how much has been spent on trying and jailing Krejcír.
Krejcír wrote the letter on the back of a Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court judgment in March last year, which ruled that he could be extradited back to the Czech Republic.
Officials in the Czech Republic have been trying to secure Krejcír’s extradition since 2007.
He is wanted in his country for charges including conspiracy to commit fraud and murder, tax evasion and credit fraud, for which he was tried and convicted in absentia.
He has fought hard to fend off the attempts to have him extradited. It is not clear what caused the sudden change of heart.
Krejcír and three others are currently on trial for the 2013 murder of Lebanese drug dealer Sam Issa.
He also faces charges of conspiracy to kill forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan and former crime intelligence operative Nkosana “Killer” Ximba.
“We submit, with respect, that it is first and foremost in the interest of justice as well as in our national interest to have Mr Krejcír extradited to his native country without further delay. On or about March 17 2018, magistrate Schutte of the Kempton Park Magistrates’ Court granted the extradition request by the Czech Republic,” the lawyers wrote.
“As mentioned, this judgment was a culmination of an 11-year battle in which Mr Krejcír resisted doggedly the request to extradite him. He now no longer wishes to appeal, challenge or resist the request for his extradition. He is willing to serve the 15-year term of imprisonment imposed on him by the authorities in the Czech Republic, as well as to face the new charges therein.”
There is no chance that Krejcír will be rehabilitated in South Africa, said the letter, adding that, in the interest of ubuntu, Krejcír should be sent back home.
Earlier this month, City Press reported that Krejcír and his co-accused in the Lukhele case had launched a last-ditch attempt to be released from jail by claiming that the evidence against them was fabricated by senior police officials, including former police commissioner Riah Phiyega, Ximba and former head of detectives Vinesh Moonoo.
They also claimed that they were tortured by the police who arrested them. Evidence obtained through illegal means, including torture, is not admissible in court. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating the claims.
Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed that the department received Krejcír’s letter, “but we don’t have an extradition treaty with the Czech Republic”.
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