Could 'coup plot' have been a 419 scam?

By ANA Time of article published May 9, 2017

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The Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday granted the man accused of allegedly plotting to assassinate senior South African government officials perceived as beneficiaries of state capture, including members of the cabinet, bail of R3000.

Magistrate Vincent Ratshibvumo ordered that Elvis Ramosebudi report at his local police station three times a week and warned him not to approach witnesses.

Ratshibvumo pointed out that nothing in the bail application suggested that Ramosebudi was capable of carrying out the alleged assassinations.

The magistrate described his plot as immature and questioned whether it was not perhaps a so-called 419 scam, because Ramosebudi did not have guns, nor had he recruited any snipers.

Ramosebudi was arrested on April 26 after investigators intercepted communication of possible assassinations which were being planned.

As many as 19 people were allegedly targeted.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said the 33-year-old man was arrested in Midrand while he was busy explaining to donors how the assassination of state capture beneficiaries was going to be carried out by a coup plot sniper.

Initially, the National Prosecuting Authority charged Ramosebudi with conspiracy to commit murder, but later changed the charges to incitement to commit murder, stating that their evidence indicated that the accused was acting alone.

An affidavit which was read by state prosecutor, advocate Johan Badenhorst, on Friday highlighted Ramosebudi’s plan and the names of the people allegedly targeted.

Some of the names on the list included President Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane, members of the controversial Gupta family, former Eskom boss Brian Molefe, SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni, Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane, head of the National Prosecuting Authority Shaun Abrahams and Minister of Co-operative Governance Des van Rooyen.

Part of the plan was allegedly to murder his targets in their homes, making the attacks appear like house robberies.

During a meeting with undercover police, Ramosebusi said he had a sniper rifle and poison to assassinate those on the hitlist. The money requested would be used for logistics and remuneration.

The affidavit further stated that it was clear during the meeting that Ramosebudi was well informed on the landscape of politics in the country.

Ramosebudi’s legal representative, Motebang Ramaili, said his client did not have previous convictions or pending cases against him.

He also said his client did not have any record of mental illness and he could confirm that he did not require psychiatric evaluation.

Ramosebusi is scheduled to appear again on July 6. - ANA

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