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Johannesburg - The first State witness testifying in the trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others has a vendetta against one of the accused, a defence lawyer said on Thursday.
Riaan Gissing, for three of the accused, said this would be the testimony of one of his clients, Warrant Officer Samuel “Saddam” Maropeng.
Gissing was cross-examining State witness Vusi Msimango in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on the East Rand.
Gissing said Maropeng would testify there was bad blood between him and Msimango since Msimango owed him R5000.
“Accused number three will... say in March 2013, you approached him and requested to borrow a certain amount of money from him. You said you would pay it back but failed to,” Gissing said.
“In early June, you had a quarrel. He told you he was aware of your drug dealing and told you to refrain from such or you will get yourself arrested.”
Gissing put it to Msimango that he had been upset over this remark, and told Maropeng he thought he was clever because he was a policeman.
“You said you will get him arrested since you know policemen of senior rank,” said Gissing.
Msimango laughed at this statement.
“A criminal never makes a loan from a policeman,” Msimango said through an interpreter.
“It is usually the other way around. The policeman asks for a loan from a criminal,” said Msimango, a self-confessed former drug dealer.
He said there had been no way he could intimidate Maropeng as he was a high-ranking police official.
“He is a member of the so-called Hawks. All I know is that a person who is in the Hawks is of high authority,” he said.
Msimango claimed to have known Maropeng for years. He testified they met when they were recruited to help find a man known as Doctor who had allegedly disappeared with 25kg of tik which he was tasked to transport to Australia.
The accused, Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, Warrant Officers Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya allegedly kidnapped and tortured Doctor's brother, Bheki Lukhele, in a bid to get to Doctor. Lukhele was then left alive near a Katlehong stadium.
The accused have all pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and dealing in drugs.
The trial continues.