Krejcir co-accused tortured: lawyer

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Copy of st FILE krejcir.JPG INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir and Desai Luphondo with four others accused, appeared at Palm Ridge magistrate court on charges of dealing in drugs, attempted murder, and kidnapping. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg - Details of an alleged assault on Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir's co-accused Desai Luphondo were revealed in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Wednesday.

Annelene van den Heever, for Krejcir and Luphondo, told the court that when Luphondo was arrested in November, the door was “hammered in”.

“The police were shouting open up. The door was opened by accused number two's son and he was standing behind him at that time. A large contingent of people stormed into the house, heavily armed and asked who Desai was.

“Accused number two identified himself. There was a lot of yelling and screaming. When he identified himself, somebody came up to him and began kicking him. He was forcefully pushed down. His hands were tied with cable ties,” Van den Heever said.

In the witness box at the trial-within-a-trial on Wednesday was Constable Junior Lerato Santi, who was part of the police contingent that arrested Krejcir and Luphondo.

He said he could not recall most of the things he was questioned about.

He and a few police officers had entered the house and found Luphondo in his bedroom. After ensuring it was safe, he had stepped aside and allowed the investigating officer in the case, Captain Freddy Ramuhala, to speak to Luphondo.

He disputed claims that there were dozens of police officers at Luphondo and Krejcir's homes.

By the time police reached Luphondo's home, Krejcir had already been arrested and sat outside the house, guarded by one police officer.

“You say that there was only one person guarding accused number one; this person (for) whom there is always a huge TRT (tactical response team) contingent, transporting him to and from court? On that day, according to your version, there was only one person guarding him?” Van den Heever asked Santi.

“Yes, it is so,” he responded.

According to Van den Heever, Luphondo was taken into the bedroom of his house where Ramuhala interrogated him.

“The main perpetrator of the assault was Colonel (Nkosana “Killer” Ximba). He was egging Desmond on,” said Van den Heever.

Santi said he had no idea who Ximba or Desmond was.

During earlier court proceedings, Desmond Campbell was identified as Ximba's driver.

Van den Heever said Luphondo was kicked, slapped, and suffocated while in the bedroom.

“During this assault, Captain Freddy would say 'Stop, talk, tell us about your friend, Krejcir'.”

“I don't know about that,” Santi responded.

The constable who began testifying on Tuesday concluded his testimony.

The trial-within-a-trial was launched following allegations that Luphondo was assaulted and influenced into a confession.

Van den Heever objected to his confession being entered as evidence.

Krejcir, Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel “Saddam” Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya were on trial for kidnapping, attempted murder and dealing in drugs.

They allegedly recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle drugs to Australia, allegedly for Krejcir.

When Nkosi disappeared with the drugs, they allegedly kidnapped his brother Bheki Lukhele and assaulted him in a bid to get him to reveal his sibling's whereabouts.

Nkosi has testified in the trial, where he admitted to stealing the drugs.

Sapa



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