Subpoenas delay Krejcir trial

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IOL KREJcir (42190402) THE STAR Radovan Krejcir disputes he has any links to alleged drug trafficker Sam Issa, who was shot dead. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Johannesburg - The trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others was postponed in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, on Friday.

After Krejcir's lawyer Annelene van den Heever issued subpoenas to national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, crime intelligence boss Chris Ngcobo, and Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba earlier this week, the law enforcement officials sent their lawyer Modise Khoza to court on Friday.

Van den Heever had demanded that Phiyega hand over documents that resulted in her ordering Krejcir's arrest in November last year.

Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, as well as Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya face charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and dealing in drugs.

They allegedly kidnapped Bheki Lukhele in a bid to force him to reveal the whereabouts of his brother, Doctor. Doctor, who worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, had disappeared with 25kg of tik (methamphetamine), which he had been tasked to transport to Australia, allegedly for Krejcir.

Lukhele testified earlier that he was forcefully taken from his Katlehong home in June last year, blindfolded, bound, kicked and punched, and had boiling water poured over his head, allegedly by Krejcir.

Van den Heever had wanted Ngcobo to supply the court with records taken from tracking devices installed in the East Rand organised crime unit's fleet of cars.

He was also required to provide information on which of his officers were using them in June last year, when Lukhele was kidnapped and assaulted, allegedly by officers with ties to Krejcir.

Khoza told the court he was not ready to proceed with the matter. Judge Collin Lamont agreed that he had not had a chance to consult with his clients.

When court resumes on June 9, Van den Heever and Khoza were expected to submit argument on why Phiyega, Ngcobo, and Ximba should or should not hand over their records to the defence.

Ximba's name has repeatedly come up in Krejcir's trial since it started three weeks ago.

Self-confessed former criminal Peter Vusi Msimango and Paul Mthabela, who are both State witness testifying in exchange for possible immunity from prosecution, have admitted to being longtime friends of Ximba.

Van den Heever had also issued subpoenas to cellphone network providers to issue her with the phone records of Ximba, Mthabela, and Msimango.

Vodacom responded to the subpoena on Friday and provided the court with over 200 pages of records.

MTN, however, which had the option to either supply the documents or appear in court, said it would appear in court. No MTN representative had arrived for proceedings when court adjourned on Friday.

Forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan, who allegedly helped police compile their case against Krejcir, was also issued a subpoena to provide all his documentation on his alleged probe of Krejcir, and his cellphone records.

Van den Heever told the court O'Sullivan had responded to the subpoena but the defence still needed to study his response and determine whether it was satisfactory. If not, he could be called to the stand.

Police spokesman Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale, however, told the Citizen newspaper earlier this week that O'Sullivan played no part in Krejcir's arrest.

Meanwhile Krejcir and several others are to face another trial linked to a conspiracy to assassinate O'Sullivan and Ximba. The court was told that four of the six accused had dropped their lawyers.

Desai Luphondo who was being represented by Andre Steenkamp, intended appointing a new lawyer.

Riaan Gissing, for warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, and Jan Lefu Mofokeng had also been taken off the case.

With court proceedings initially scheduled to end on Friday, it was understood that the group could no longer afford to keep their current lawyers. They had to have appointed new lawyers when court resumed in two weeks.

“Your new counsels will have access to the court records to prepare,” Lamont told the accused.

“It is unfortunate that the matter is delayed for this long,” he said.

Sapa



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