Derby-Lewis not linked to extortion bid

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Copy of st file derby lewis (42536743) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Clive Derby-Lewis

Johannesburg - Convicted killer Clive Derby-Lewis is not linked to a case in which another prisoner tried to extort money from the mother of one of the so-called Waterkloof Four, the correctional services department said on Friday.

“There is no evidence of involvement of offender Clive Derby-Lewis at this stage in terms of the information at our disposal,” said spokesman Manelisi Wolela.

“The SA Police Service is investigating a case of extortion against 1/8another 3/8 offender and this matter is already before court.”

Manelisi said the inmate, who may not be named, allegedly tried to extort money from Mariette Becker, the mother of Christoff Becker.

“(He) is alleged to have tried to get money from the family... regarding a video captured inside the central correctional centre.”

On Thursday it emerged that the inmate allegedly had video footage on a hard drive of Becker that could get him in trouble with the department.

Derby-Lewis's lawyer Marius Coertze said his client was being dragged into the case when he was not involved.

“The accused prisoner... has apparently said that he is not to be blamed alone, and said that he got the hard drive from Clive. He is trying to drag Clive into it.

“The only connection Clive has to this case is that he sold or exchanged the hard drive with this guy. Nothing else. That's his only connection to this whole case.”

Coertze said Derby-Lewis would probably be called as a State witness in the extortion case against the prisoner.

It was not clear when the alleged extortion happened, but Coertze said Derby-Lewis had been in hospital since March.

The Sowetan newspaper reported that the inmate appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on charges of extortion and attempted extortion. The case was postponed to next month.

The prisoner was in negotiations with the State about a plea agreement, according to the newspaper.

The 35-year-old inmate was serving time in Kgosi Mampuru prison after being convicted in 2008 on 32 charges of theft and fraud relating to a country-wide crime spree with his girlfriend.

Derby-Lewis and Becker served time in the same prison.

In June, Beeld newspaper reported threatened to leak the videos unless Mariette Becker paid him R30,000.

Becker and three others were released on parole in February after being jailed for beating to death a homeless man in Pretoria in 2001.

Becker and one of his co-accused Frikkie du Preez were re-arrested five days later after a video emerged of them drinking what appeared to be alcohol and using a cellphone at the prison. It was unclear whether this was the same footage being used in the extortion case.

In June, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application for Becker's parole to be reinstated.

Derby-Lewis was convicted of conspiring to kill SA Communist Party general secretary Chris Hani by providing the gun Polish immigrant Janusz Walus used to kill him in the driveway of his home in Boksburg, on the East Rand, on April 10, 1993.

The 78-year-old former Conservative Party MP, who was sentenced to 25 years behind bars, has already served more than 20 years of his sentence. Derby-Lewis was initially sentenced to death, which was commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished in 1995. He first applied for parole in June 2010.

On June 30, the correctional services department said it would give urgent attention to Derby-Lewis's medical parole application, as he is terminally ill.

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