Druglord to shed light on 20-year murder mystery
THE Sunday Times yesterday tracked down a notorious drug dealer who promised to help explain the mysterious disappearance of a well-known Soweto businessman who had close links with soccer boss Irvin Khoza.
Our reporter tracked Vicky Goswami to the Port Police station in Kenya: the convicted drug dealer now faces possible extradition to the US.
Goswami offered to help South African police unravel the case of Robert “Rocks” Dlamini, who vanished 18 years ago.
Dlamini, a businessman and drug dealer, had been on his way to meet Khoza to collect R1.5-million owed to him from a business transaction arranged by Goswami. At the time, Khoza was acting as a messenger for Goswami.
Khoza has always denied that drugs were involved.
Dlamini’s disappearance in April 1995 has baffled authorities. He is believed to have been murdered and his body buried.
Goswami was released from a Dubai jail last year. He spent about 10 years there for drug dealing.
Last Sunday, he was arrested in Nyali, east of Mombasa in Kenya. He and three other men were caught in a sting operation by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. His alleged accomplices are Indian national Gulam Hussein and two sons of slain Kenyan drug baron Ibrahim Akasha, Baktash Akasha Abdalla and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla.
It is alleged that the four men tried to sell drugs worth millions to a DEA agent.
The Sunday Times established that Goswami and his accomplices supplied the agent with 98kg of heroin in Nairobi on November 7, and that last Sunday’s meeting was a trap.
The arrests took place after
a request by US law enforcement agencies to their Kenyan counterparts. This came after an explosive indictment filed in a New York court on October 28.
The indictment names Goswami as “the principal manager of the organisation’s drug manufacturing and distribution business”.
Yesterday Goswami indicated to his lawyer, Cliff Ombeta, that he was willing to bring closure to the Dlamini case if he was approached through the right channels. There is a police reward of R250 000, issued in 1996, for information leading to the solution of the Dlamini case.
Since their arrest, Goswami and his accomplices have been held in a high-security cell at a Mombasa police station.
They are due to appear in court on Tuesday at an extradition hearing. The Kenyan assistant director of public prosecution, Alex Muteti, said that if the US government presented strong evidence, the four would be sent to New York for trial.
“Once we are satisfied with the evidence, we will start with the extradition process,” Muteti said.
Ombeta said he would fight to keep his clients in Kenya, and said Goswami never told him about his history in South Africa until the Sunday Times contacted him. “He told me about almost everything, including his jail time in Dubai, but never mentioned South Africa.”
Ombeta said Goswami told him that he was willing to help the South African authorities.
“So far nobody from South African law enforcement agencies has contacted us,” he said.
A Sunday Times investigation established that the DEA agent who posed as a drug dealer first met the four men at an upmarket restaurant and recorded all his meetings with them.
“The police indicated that they have photos, videos, voice recordings and Skype meetings of their alleged meetings with the agent,” Ombeta said.
Goswami moved to Kenya soon after his release in October last year from prison in Dubai, where he secretly married a former Bollywood actress, Mamta Kulkarini. He bought a hotel in Parklands, west of Mombasa, which he allegedly used for his illegal activities.
Police spokesman Solomon Makgale and Jackie Selebi, who was police commissioner at the time of Dlamini’s disappearance, were both unavailable for comment.