Could this be South Africa’s most dan­ger­ous fugi­tive?

Ser­bian sus­pect lived on Wa­ter­front

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDENHUYS

THIS is the face of a man po­lice think is one of the most dan­ger­ous fugi­tives hid­ing out in South Africa. Po­lice be­lieve he is a mem­ber of a vi­cious east­ern Euro­pean crime syn­di­cate run by the Ser­bian mafia.

They be­lieve the man is an as­sas­sin and a con­victed killer in Ser­bia who is wanted by In­ter­pol. He is also the man who drove the ve­hi­cle of un­der­world boss Cyril Beeka when he was shot dead in Bel­lville in March.

Week­end Ar­gus can re­veal that Beeka’s driver, Sasa Ko­vace­vic, who has been iden­ti­fied by Ser­bian and South African po­lice as the al­leged as­sas­sin and in­ter­na­tional fugi­tive Do­brosav Gavric, is out on R1 500 bail.

He has lived in South Africa for three years un­der the name Sasa Ko­vace­vic.

Week­end Ar­gus tracked him down yes­ter­day and cap­tured im­ages of him while he checked in at the Ta­ble Bay har­bour po­lice sta­tion as part of his bail con­di­tions.

A burly man with a bald head drove Ko­vace­vic to the po­lice sta­tion in a white BMW X5, af­ter which he made his way, limp­ing slowly, to­wards the sta­tion.

Up­set at be­ing snapped by a pho­tog­ra­pher and re­fus­ing a re­quest for an in­ter­view, Ko­vace­vic, 37, turned back to­wards his car and tried to hide his face with his jacket be­fore climb­ing into the ve­hi­cle. The car sped away.

De­spite the Serb’s re­lease from cus­tody, the Hawks in­sist he’s not a flight risk.

The file on the man known as Gavric reads like a spinechilling Scan­di­na­vian thriller.

In 2006, he fled Ser­bia and skipped his 35-year jail sen­tence for as­sas­si­nat­ing Zeljko “Arkan” Raz­na­tovic, a much­feared Ser­bian war­lord and former body­guard of Ser­bian pres­i­dent Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic, who died in 2002.

Raz­na­tovic, bet­ter known as “Arkan” in the un­der­world, was Ser­bia’s most in­fa­mous wartime para­mil­i­tary leader and mafia boss.

Gavric was sen­tenced for killing “Arkan” and two other men who were with the mafia boss in the lobby of a ho­tel in Bel­grade in 2000.

Although the Hawks say pro­cesses are un­der way to co-oper­ate with Ser­bia, which wants the fugi­tive ex­tra­dited to serve his sen­tence, it’s still un­clear why, if po­lice think Ko­vace­vic is re­ally Gavric, he is not now in cus­tody.

Ko­vace­vic was charged with pos­ses­sion of 5g of co­caine, some eight months af­ter he was al­legedly found in pos­ses­sion of the drug.

How­ever, it’s be­lieved that the real rea­son be­hind his ar­rest was to check his iden­tity through var­i­ous fin­ger­print tests which have been con­ducted over the past weeks.

Week­end Ar­gus un­der­stands that Ko­vace­vic, ac­com­pa­nied by his ad­vo­cate Reuben Lid­dell, agreed to meet the po­lice at the Bel­lville of­fices of the or­gan­ised crime unit on Novem­ber 1. Shortly af­ter­wards, he ap­peared in court for pos­ses­sion of co­caine al­legedly found in his bag left be­hind in Beeka’s blue BMW X5 ve­hi­cle.

He ap­peared in the Bel­lville Mag­is­trate’s Court on Novem­ber 1. The charge sheet con­firms that he was granted R1 500 bail, paid by his at­tor­ney, Ber­tus Preller, from the law firm Abra­ham&gross In­cor­po­rated in Short­mar­ket Street, Cape Town.

The State pros­e­cu­tor in the case, a Mr Hanse, told the court Ko­vace­vic had a fixed ad­dress, a clean record and no crim­i­nal cases pend­ing against him. A South African pass­port num­ber and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber for him were also writ­ten on the charge sheet.

Ko­vace­vic’s ad­dress was listed as 007 Paragon, Wa­ter­front, in­stead of 006, Par­ergon, the ac­tual ad­dress. He will make a sec­ond ap­pear­ance at the court next month.

Week­end Ar­gus vis­ited Par­ergon, a lux­ury apart­ment at the V& A Wa­ter­front, where Ko­vace­vic lived a seem­ingly nor­mal life on the ground­floor of the com­plex.

A se­cu­rity guard at the com­plex, Hil­ton Jonkers, said the man he knew as Sasa Ko­vace- vic, had lived at 006 Par­ergon for some time, but had left the premises early last week.

“He dropped the keys of the apart­ment and ar­ranged for a taxi, which fetched him and took him to the air­port.”

Jonkers said a mem­ber of the Hawks had ar­rived seek­ing Ko­vace­vic the day be­fore he left.

Hawks spokesman Mcin­tosh Polela said there was no need to keep Ko­vace­vic in cus­tody.

In­tel­li­gence sources have told Week­end Ar­gus Ko­vace­vic was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in con­nec­tion with Beeka’s mur­der af­ter it emerged one of the shots fired in the killing came from in­side Beeka’s ve­hi­cle. They also said he was ar­rested ear­lier this month.

The Hawks and a se­nior po­lice­man have de­nied Ko­vace­vic fired at Beeka, say­ing the in­juries Ko­vace­vic sus­tained dur­ing the drive-by shoot­ing were too se­vere for him to have been in­volved.

PIC­TURES: CANDICE CHAP­LIN

AC­CUSED: Sasa Ko­vace­vic ar­rives at the Ta­ble Bay har­bour po­lice sta­tion.

LUX­URY: The apart­ment block Par­ergon in which Ko­vace­vic lived at the V&A Wa­ter­front in the city.

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