Johannesburg - A witness testifying in Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir's trial was told to give a statement in exchange for his freedom, the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.
“Did the cops say 'give us a statement implementing Krejcir and Desai (Luphondo) and you can go'?” Annelene van den Heever, for Krejcir, asked State witness Paul Vusi Msimango during cross-examination.
“Yes,” responded Msimango.
Krejcir, Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jess Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya face charges of dealing in drugs, attempted murder, and kidnapping. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Msimango told the court that he and another man named Paul had been questioned at the Bramley police station about the kidnapping and assault of Bheki Lukhele.
Lukhele was kidnapped and assaulted in a bid for him to reveal the whereabouts of his brother Doctor.
Msimango had been recruited to help find Doctor, who worked at a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport. Doctor apparently disappeared with 25kg of tik that he was tasked to help transport to Australia in June last year.
Msimango said: “Police made a request to us to tell them the truth. They were not looking for us.
“They said if we write statements we can go and sleep at home.
“I told Paul 'listen here. I won't be involved in this matter. I never earned a cent. You and Desai called me to help. You then decided to leave the matter but now we are getting arrested. I won't stand for it',” Msimango said.
He then named those who were involved in Lukhele's assault.
“Some of the others are not here,” Msimango said, looking at the dock where the six accused sat listening to his testimony.
The court was told that Lukhele was bound, assaulted and had boiling water poured over his head by Krejcir. He said at one point, Krejcir ordered that the hat used to cover Lukhele's face be removed.
“He said 'Look at me! You claim to not know where your brother is but you were with him during the day. Perhaps you are preparing to die like a soldier',” Msimango testified.
Earlier, he told the court that after assaulting Lukhele, Krejcir suggested they murder him so Doctor could be picked up when he attended the funeral. Krejcir later aborted that plan.
“He said he doesn't want to have a reputation of a drug dealer,” Msimango said.
They dropped Lukhele off near a stadium in Katlehong.
The trial continues. - Sapa