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Johannesburg - Bassam Issa, the man gunned down in Bedfordview on Saturday, was in South Africa on a false identity document, according to an independent forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who happened to run a check on the Lebanese national’s identity document.
“The ID number was never issued,” said O’Sullivan. He said the 49-year-old man last worked in 2008. “His credit history shows he was employed years ago at a metal company. There is no indication he has held a job since then.”
O’Sullivan said he believed police would be making a breakthrough in the case soon.
Issa’s friends, who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity, said they had warned him he would be killed, and that he needed to leave Joburg.
Associates of Issa and fugitive Radovan Krejcir say the two had been in business together for two years. However, Krejcir denied knowing him well, saying he had seen him a couple of times in Bedfordview.
The associates said Issa was constantly complaining about Krejcir to anyone who would listen to him.
“Sam helped Krejcir with bail money. Sam complained about it all the time, saying Krejcir had never paid him back. He also said Krejcir owed him money from a business deal,” one friend said.
The friends described Issa, known as Black Sam, as a loudmouth who would do things to show off, like fire bullets into ceilings, but they said he was not a violent man, even though he had once shot his brother.
Friends told The Star that Issa had told them that he had been kidnapped two weeks ago by two men who bundled him into a car and said they were going to kill him. However, Issa said one of the men “got soft” and decided not to kill him after he begged for his life. The other man still wanted to kill him. But in the end it was a burst tyre that saved him. His kidnappers left him and fled.
“He was told that God had given him a second chance, that he should leave Johannesburg. Because whoever had sent those two men to kill him was not happy with them (as he had escaped). A few days later they came back and finished the job,” said one man, referring to the drive-by shooting on Saturday.
Another Krejcir associate, Jerome Safi, confirmed that he had received a death threat. On Sunday morning, he received an SMS saying: “You are next”.
He reported the case at Bedfordview police station
Safi was at the Palm Springs Magistrates Court on Tuesday where he is to testify as a state witness in the trial of three men – Garlond Holworthy, Thabo Mogapi and Kagiso Linken – accused of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of German supercar conversion specialist Uwe Gemballa.
Gemballa was murdered in 2010, eight days after his arrival in South Africa.
Outside court, Safi refused to comment about his death threat or Issa’s murder, other than to confirm the threat had taken place. He said he did not know who had threatened him