Johannesburg - Witnesses in the kidnapping and attempted murder case against Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir have received death threats, the Palm Ridge Regional Court heard on Thursday.
“Witnesses are already receiving death threats. The accused know who the State witnesses are, where they live, and who their close families are,” prosecutor Lethabo Mashiane said, reading the investigating officer's affidavit.
“The State advocate has been threatened... and two dockets have already been opened. The witnesses have already been intimidated and could be killed.”
During the bail application of Warrant Officer Jan Mofokeng, Mashiane said some witnesses had been entered into witness protection but not all of them.
Sitting in the dock with his arms folded in front of him, Mofokeng listened to the court proceedings and avoided looking back to avoid photographers taking his picture.
The small court was empty but nine officers kept watch inside, with four more at the door outside.
Mashiane told the court the State opposed bail because Mofokeng knew who the witnesses were and some witnesses had already been threatened.
He said the State's case against Mofokeng and his co-accused was strong.
“The State's case is very strong against the accused and his co-accused. There are witnesses that can identify them,” he said.
The court heard that Mofokeng was arrested on January 28 after police started looking for him in November.
Mashiane said Mofokeng knew there was a warrant for his arrest but absconded to Bloemfontein in the Free State.
Mofokeng was the sixth man arrested in connection with Krejcir's kidnapping and attempted murder case. Siboniso Miya was the fifth.
Miya and three other men were arrested in January in Rivonia, north of Johannesburg.
Days after Miya's arrest, police revealed that he was also linked to the kidnapping case that led to Krejcir's arrest.
Krejcir and three other men were arrested in November for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting a man whose brother, known only as “Doctor”, disappeared with a 25kg shipment of tik he had been recruited to help smuggle through OR Tambo International Airport.
They allegedly kept the man at Krejcir's Money Point business in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, for four days, and assaulted him.
In January, Miya, Krejcir, Sandton businessman Desai Luphondo, and two members of the Hawks -- Warrant Officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane appeared in the same court. The case was postponed to February 24.
Francois Roets, for Mofokeng, requested a postponement on Thursday in light of new evidence being presented in court.
“As part of my instructions I have been requested to lodge an application to re-open the case.”
He said it would be necessary before he could continue the bail application.
The matter was postponed to February 12. - Sapa