Shocking twist in cop killing
SUNDAY World can today reveal explosive information about the murder of top cop Tirhani Maswanganyi, who was killed while investigating police involvement in cigarette smuggling syndicates.
Maswanganyi ’ s family wrote a letter to national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega on Friday in which they claimed that:
Senior police officers were involved in the murder.
The legal fees for one of the men accused of killing Maswanganyi were paid for by crime intelligence.
The family said they saw documents proving that the police’s crime intelligence unit had footed legal bills for one of the accused.
Independent of the family, Sunday World has been able to verify the claim that legal fees have been paid by police crime intelligence.
Members of the family spoke to Sunday World on condition that they were quoted collectively instead of as individuals. Two relatives are police officers.
We became suspicious when investigators continuously broke their promises to us,” said the family. We were told that we’d be briefed on the case as milestones were reached. This didn’t happen – instead we learnt about what was happening from rumours in the corridors and the media.
“This was confusing and led us to believe that the investigators were deliberately excluding us because high-ranking officials were involved in the murder.
“We then got wind that crime intelligence was paying the fees for the defence and we were asking ourselves: Crime intelligence is the state, so why would the state fund the case against the state?
“We resolved to write this letter to ask her (Phiyega) to investigate the involvement of the crime intelligence unit in this matter with immediate effect, ” they said.
Maswanganyi was the cluster commander for the Joburg area and his close allies in the police told Sunday World that at the time of his murder he was involved in an investigation of cigarette smuggling.
His body was found in the veld near Hammanskraal, Tshwane, his hands and feet bound. He had a chest wound.
Phiyega ’ s spokesman, Solomon Makgale, acknowledged receipt of the letter.
I can confirm that we have received a letter from the family raising a number of concerns. We have a very senior team investigating the matter.
“Given the seriousness of the concerns raised by the family, we will arrange a meeting during the course of this week to see how we best address the concerns they have raised,” said Makgale.
Four men have been arrested in connection with the murder.
Sunday World was informed by sources close to the investigation that the first to be arrested was a soldier and that he had confessed to the crime.
It is believed that the soldier then pointed out the crime scene to the police.
He told the police that cellphones had been burnt to destroy evidence and that condoms had been planted at the scene to create the impression that Maswanganyi had been with a prostitute.
Maswanganyi ’ s two cellphones were missing.
All four accused remain in custody, and will appear in court again on Thursday for a bail application.