Ghost from the Past

| From the dock of a court in Kenya, a con­victed drug dealer with links to top for­mer ANC ex­iles says Or­lando Pi­rates chief Irvin Khoza must ex­plain what hap­pened to miss­ing Soweto busi­ness­man Rocks Dlamini

Sunday Times - - NEWS -

OPEN­ING OLD WOUNDS: Irvin Khoza de­nies al­le­ga­tions he was in­volved in Rocks Dlamini’s dis­ap­pear­ance his si­lence, re­lat­ing for the first time what he had told po­lice about Dlamini’s dis­ap­pear­ance. He said a friend of Goswami’s owed his brother-in-law Billy Vila R120 000. Vila had ar­rived at Goswami’s house de­mand­ing the money. Goswami later gave Khoza the money, ask­ing him to hand it over to Vila.

“I gave it to Billy. After that I was not in­volved.”

He said Dlamini, a popular sales­man at a cloth­ing store, had no con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent. “We knew each other so­cially but I had no fight with him and he never worked for me. I never met with him [on the day he dis­ap­peared].”

He had re­lated th­ese events to for­mer crime in­tel­li­gence head Afrika Khu­malo, whom he took to see Vila, and for­mer po­lice chief Jackie Selebi. VAN­ISHED: Robert ‘Rocks’ Dlamini

“Selebi even went to Dubai to in­ter­view Vicky,” said Khoza.

This week Goswami de­nied owing Dlamini any money.

“Rocks was black­mail­ing me and tried to ex­tort money from me. I am pre­pared to sit face to face with his fam­ily and ex­plain my story. I am will­ing to come back to South Africa and clear my name.”

Goswami, an In­dian na­tional, left South Africa a year after Dlamini dis­ap­peared. It is be­lieved a for­mer gov­ern­ment min­is­ter who was on Goswami’s pay­roll tipped him off about his im­mi­nent ar­rest.

When Goswami was given the name of the for­mer min­is­ter, he would not con­firm or deny it.

“I know a num­ber of ANC mem­bers. Re­mem­ber, I con­trib­uted to the ANC when I was in Zam­bia. I knew some of the ANC lead­ers and min­is­ters when I was in South Africa from our days in Zam­bia. I gave money to the ANC and con­trib­uted to the strug­gle.”

Goswami re­fused to name his “friends in the ANC” but did con­firm his re­la­tion­ship with Khoza.

“Irvin is a good friend of mine and noth­ing more than that.”

Asked when last he spoke to Khoza, Goswami gave three an­swers.

The first was: “I speak to him more of­ten but not al­ways.”

Then: “I think I last spoke to him 10 years ago.”

And: “I think the last time I spoke to him was 16 years ago.”

When pressed for the right an­swer, Goswami an­grily asked: “Why are you so ob­sessed on when was the last time we spoke? He is my friend and I will never deny that.”

Goswami and Khoza met in the early ’80s in Zam­bia where Goswami was run­ning a drug car­tel. Ac­cord­ing to his charge sheet Khoza was ar­rested at Lusaka In­ter­na­tional Air­port in 1983 after he was caught with man­drax tablets while board­ing a flight to South Africa.

He told the court he had been given the drugs by an un­named ANC rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Kenya. He was found guilty of pos­ses­sion of nar­cotics and paid a 95 Zam­bian kwacha fine.

Goswami’s stay in Zam­bia was short. He be­came the sub­ject of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the coun­try’s Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion and fled to South Africa in Novem­ber 1993 after a for­mer Zam­bian min­is­ter tipped him off that he was to be deported.

In South Africa he en­joyed the high life, rub­bing shoul­ders with se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials; he even posed for a photo with Nel­son Man­dela at FNB Sta­dium dur­ing the African Cup of Na­tions fi­nal in 1996.

Goswami left South Africa for Dubai, where he was ar­rested on June 21 1997 for pos­ses­sion of man­drax worth $6-mil­lion. He was sentenced to life im­pris­on­ment and was re­leased on Oc­to­ber 15 2012 after spend­ing 16 years in jail.

Goswami does not want to talk about his drug deal­ing.

“I have done my time and paid the price. I was con­victed wrong­fully,” he said.

After his re­lease, Goswami moved to Kenya where he set­tled in Mom­basa, mov­ing from ho­tel to ho­tel un­til his ar­rest this month. “My ar­rest here in Kenya was a set-up. I was try­ing to bring in­vestors here and open a ce­ment fac­tory,” he said.

Selebi could not be reached for com­ment.

De­tailed ques­tions were sent via SMS to po­lice spokesman Solomon Mak­gale.

Th­ese in­cluded whether the po­lice would travel to Kenya to in­ter­view Goswami.

Mak­gale re­sponded: “The case is still open and un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. If there is any­one with in­for­ma­tion who is keen to as­sist us, we will most cer­tainly follow up. Hope­fully, this will lead to the ap­pre­hen­sion of the sus­pects.”

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