Os­car’s cell raided in Kre­j­cir mob drama

Searches re­veal how gang boss ’runs crime oper­a­tions from prison’

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - MON­ICA LAGANPARSAD and THAN­DUX­OLO JIKA

OS­CAR Pis­to­rius has been drawn into a top-level po­lice probe into mob­ster Radovan Kre­j­cir’s pris­on­cell deal­ings with the crim­i­nal un­der­world.

The Sun­day Times can to­day re­veal shock­ing de­tails of Kre­j­cir’s crime oper­a­tions, ap­par­ently run from prison — and the al­leged in­volve­ment of top-rank­ing po­lice of­fi­cials in a string of crimes linked to the Czech gang­ster.

Po­lice con­firmed yesterday that the dis­graced Par­a­lympian’s cell at Kgosi Mam­puru II Prison in Pre­to­ria was raided by cor­rec­tional ser­vices of­fi­cials be­fore dawn three months ago.

Pis­to­rius — ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials who were part of the raid and in­ves­ti­gat­ing Kre­j­cir — was tar­geted be­cause of the close ties he had forged with Kre­j­cir dur­ing his 10 months in prison.

On May 15, prison of­fi­cials raided Pis­to­rius’s cell. On June 25 they searched the cells of Kre­j­cir and two of his co-ac­cused in a mur­der case.

They con­fis­cated six mem­ory sticks, a mem­ory card, three sim cards, an iPhone and four other cell­phones. A hard drive with un­spec­i­fied con­tent was taken from Pis­to­rius’s cell in the hos­pi­tal wing of the prison.

Although noth­ing in­crim­i­nat­ing has yet been found on the hard drive, the de­vel­op­ment is po­ten­tially bad news for Pis­to­rius, whose pa­role will be re­con­sid­ered next month.

Po­lice of­fi­cials said Pis­to­rius’s hard drive was with the po­lice’s foren­sic unit.

Pis­to­rius was jailed last year for killing his girl­friend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

In March this year, cell­phone footage sur­faced of the ath­lete and Kre­j­cir play­ing soc­cer on the prison grounds.

“We know Os­car and Kre­j­cir were spend­ing a lot of time to­gether in prison, so we wanted to get to all of those who seemed close to Kre­j­cir,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cial.

Pis­to­rius was set for re­lease two Fri­days ago, but in a sur­prise move, Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Ma­sutha blocked his re­lease two days be­fore it was due, say­ing proper pa­role pro­ce­dure had not been fol­lowed.

A pa­role re­view board will meet on Septem­ber 18 to de­cide on his re­lease.

An­neliese Burgess, spokes­woman for the Pis­to­rius fam­ily, said: “We have no knowl­edge of the specifics around this is­sue, but know there is ab­so­lutely no way that Os­car would do any­thing that is against prison reg­u­la­tions or be in pos­ses­sion of any­thing that had not been vet­ted by prison author­i­ties.”

On Mon­day, Kre­j­cir was found guilty of kid­nap­ping, at­tempted mur­der and at­tempted drug deal­ing re­lated to a botched drug deal.

His five co-ac­cused — busi­ness­man De­sai Luphondo, taxi boss Si­bon­iso Miya and Hawks war­rant of­fi­cers Sa­muel “Sad­dam” Maropeng, Jeff Nthoroane and Lefu Jan Mo­fo­keng — were also all found guilty of kid­nap­ping Bhekithemba Lukele in June 2013. Sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings start this week.

On Thurs­day, po­lice opened two more cases in Gaut­eng against Kre­j­cir aris­ing from the June raid: interfering with a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

Sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said po­lice had re­quested cor­rec­tional ser­vices to con­duct the raid af­ter in­ter­cept­ing tele­phone conver- sa­tions be­tween Kre­j­cir and one of his out­side as­so­ci­ates tasked with killing wit­nesses to the mur­der of drug traf­ficker Sam Issa.

Issa was gunned down in Bed­ford­view in 2013, ap­par­ently over debts worth mil­lions owed to his sup­pli­ers.

Cor­rec­tional ser­vices spokesman Manelisi Wolela yesterday in­sisted the raids had never taken place, say­ing: “We dis­miss the al­le­ga­tions as in­cor­rect and mis­lead­ing.”

How­ever, po­lice spokesman Lieu- ten­ant-Gen­eral Solomon Mak­gale con­firmed the June 25 raids, say­ing: “There was a high-level in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Kre­j­cir’s ex­ten­sive net­work of po­lice con­tacts.”

He con­firmed that new cases had been opened against Kre­j­cir, and that prison of­fi­cials had con­fis­cated sev­eral elec­tronic de­vices.

“The reg­u­lar searches of the cells of these in­di­vid­u­als by prison of­fi­cials as­sisted us in es­tab­lish­ing that there was a plot to kill Paul O’Sul­li­van, Colonel Ximba, wit­nesses in the Sam Issa mur­der, a taxi owner from New­cas­tle and the in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“Other items were also found on Os­car Pis­to­rius. There is no ev­i­dence at this stage to link Pis­to­rius to any crim­i­nal­ity, but we are still await­ing an­a­lysts’ re­ports about the con­tents of the items con­fis­cated.”

He said in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Kre­j­cir’s links to crimes and the in- fil­tra­tion of po­lice were on­go­ing.

“From day one, it was clear that the only rea­son Kre­j­cir was still free was be­cause of pro­tec­tion by crim­i­nal po­lice mem­bers. Kre­j­cir man­aged to in­fil­trate the en­tire crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, par­tic­u­larly the Hawks and crime in­tel­li­gence. The team risked their lives in the process of un­cov­er­ing the crim­i­nal deeds of Kre­j­cir and his hench­men.”

He said the team was in­ves­ti­gat­ing more than 30 po­lice of­fi­cials — from con­sta­bles to lieu­tenant-gen­er­als — with sus­pected links to Kre­j­cir.

Pre­lim­i­nary po­lice anal­y­sis of the equip­ment found in Kre­j­cir’s cell is be­lieved to have re­vealed highly sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion on one of the mem­ory sticks.

“He had the kind of in­for­ma­tion that or­di­nary po­lice­men won’t have. Be­tween the movies on the mem­ory

We know Os­car and Kre­j­cir were spend­ing a lot of time to­gether in prison

stick, we found a de­tailed fin­ger­print anal­y­sis in a case he is linked to,” said a po­lice of­fi­cial.

“Now ask your­self, how did some­one in prison get ac­cess to such sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion?”

Kre­j­cir’s lawyer, Piet du Plessis of BDK At­tor­neys, said yesterday that his client’s cell had been searched on many oc­ca­sions.

On Kre­j­cir pos­si­bly be­ing in pos­ses­sion of po­lice in­for­ma­tion, Du Plessis said: “Mr Kre­j­cir . . . will have ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion in or­der to pre­pare for his case. There’s noth­ing wrong with that.”

Du Plessis said he was un­aware of the two re­cent cases opened against Kre­j­cir. “No one both­ered to in­form me or my client.”

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, in­ves­ti­ga­tions homed in on two high-rank­ing po­lice of­fi­cials, Lieu­tenant-Colonel Les­lie “Cow­boy” Maluleke and sus­pended Gaut­eng Hawks boss Gen­eral Shadrack Sibiya, who are al­leged to have tam­pered with ev­i­dence in a kid­nap­ping case linked to Kre­j­cir.

In a case opened on Thurs­day, the two face charges of kid­nap­ping, as­sault with in­tent to do griev­ous bod­ily harm, cor­rup­tion, armed rob­bery and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

Last month, an in­quiry im­pli­cated Sibiya in the illegal ren­di­tion of Zim­bab­weans. The in­quiry found he had in­ter­ac­tions with Maluleke dur­ing crit­i­cal stages of the op­er­a­tion.

Two Zim­bab­weans died in po­lice cus­tody in Zim­babwe, one dis­ap­peared and another was said to have been tor­tured af­ter Hawks of­fi­cials led by Maluleke al­legedly took them over the Beit Bridge bor­der post at Musina with forged de­por­ta­tion pa­pers in 2010 and 2011 and handed them over to Zim­bab­wean of­fi­cials.

Sibiya de­clined to com­ment yesterday, say­ing: “I know noth­ing of that sort. No com­ment.”

When asked for com­ment, Maluleke asked to be called lat- er. When called again, his phone went unan­swered.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice state­ment seen by the Sun­day Times, Sibiya and Maluleke threat­ened kid­nap vic­tim Bos­ton Ndlovu to get him to with­draw his case.

In the state­ment, one of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers de­tails how Ndlovu was kid­napped and as­saulted and how one of Kre­j­cir’s as­so­ci­ates, Ron­nie Bvuma, de­manded a R500 000 ran­som. A po­lice trap was set and Bvuma was ar­rested. Oth­ers man­aged to es­cape.

Bvuma later died dur­ing a bomb blast at Kre­j­cir’s Money Point gold ex­change busi­ness in Bed­ford­view, Johannesburg.

Other de­tails found on Kre­j­cir’s mem­ory stick in­clude con­fi­den­tial po­lice ev­i­dence re­lat­ing to the mur­der of Kre­j­cir’s for­mer debt col­lec­tor, Phumlani Ncube. Ncube was killed af­ter he ap­par­ently swin­dled Kre­j­cir out of R50 000 on the sale of Kruger­rands.

Kre­j­cir and ex-crime in­tel­li­gence sergeant Nandi Nkosi, and one Welcome Nkanyiso Ma­funda, are charged with Ncube’s mur­der.

Ncube was ap­par­ently ar­rested by a po­lice­man on Louis Botha Av­enue in Hill­brow in July 2013. His bullet-rid­dled body was found near a farm in Hei­del­berg. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Ncube’s mur­der is ex­pected to fur­ther ex­pose the ex­tent of Kre­j­cir’s crim­i­nal net­work.

Be­tween the movies on the mem­ory stick was fin­ger­print anal­y­sis in a case Kre­j­cir is linked to

Pic­ture: ALON SKUY

CZECH: Radovan Kre­j­cir, a fugi­tive from jus­tice, was this week con­victed by an SA court of kid­nap­ping and at­tempted mur­der

Pic­ture: GALLO IM­AGES

MATE: Dis­abled ath­lete Os­car Pis­to­rius has spent 10 months in jail for killing his girl­friend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013

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