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 - A co-accused of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir offered to give police a statement without any assault or influence, the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, heard on Wednesday.

“During the arrest when I explained his rights and informed him of the charge, he told me that he knew about the case and was prepared to make a statement,” Captain Mashudu Ramuhala told the court.

He was the investigating officer behind the arrest of the six accused.

Ramuhala was being led in delivering his evidence-in-chief in the trial-within-a-trial aimed at establishing whether Desai Luphondo was pressured into a confession by the police.

The trial-within-a-trial was launched after Luphondo's lawyer, Annelene van den Heever, objected to the confession being entered as evidence, claiming her client had been unduly influenced into making it.

Ramuhala dismissed the basis of the trial-within-a-trial by denying that he or any of his police team had assaulted Luphondo when he was arrested on November 22 last year.

Ramuhala also told the court that he knew nothing about Luphondo laying a complaint against him and other officers for the alleged assault.

Luphondo, who sat next to Krejcir in the dock, energetically took down notes as Ramuhala spoke.

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

They allegedly recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle 25kg of tik (methamphetamine) to Australia.

He worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, when he disappeared with the shipment.

Krejcir and his co-accused allegedly then kidnapped and tortured his brother Bheki Lukhele in a bid to have him reveal his sibling's whereabouts.

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