Next eyewitness in Krejcir trial to take the stand on Monday

FILE PICTURE: Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir is seen ahead of his trial at the High Court in Johannesburg sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Thursday, 15 May 2014. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

A convicted armed robber with inside information of how the tik trade works and with the telephone numbers of a high ranking police officer based in Crime Intelligence – this was the State’s first witness, Vusi Msimango, in the trial of Czech Republic fugitive Radovan Krejcir yesterday.

Krejcir is accused of the kidnapping and subsequent attempted murder of Bheki Lukhele.

The defence team has made hay out of Msimango’s past.

In short, Msimango said that he was present when the search for Lukhele’s brother, “Doctor”, began – and so was Krejcir.

He has placed each of the accused at various points in the four days Lukhele was allegedly held captive.

The story is “Doctor” was given 25kg of tik to send to Australia and R70 000 to make it happen.

“Doctor” would have received between R250 000 and R350 000 when the drugs reached its destination.

This never happened and Krejcir supposedly wanted “Doctor” to present himself for a lie-detector test to prove his claim the police had confiscated it.

“Doctor” disappeared and – cutting a long story short, which involved Krejcir allegedly introducing himself to Lukhele by pouring a kettle of boiling water on Lukhele’s head – it led to Krejcir and company appearing in court.

The State has said Lukhele’s assault was so bad it amended the original assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm to attempted murder.

In order of appearance at the trial are: Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, former warrant officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Siboniso Miya and the other former warrant officer, Jan Lefu Mofokeng.

Msimango also has a 10-year-old relationship with Crime Intelligence’s Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba.

The four advocates for the accused have grilled Msimango and have at times been admonished by Judge Colin Lamont to refrain from directly calling Msimango’s testimony an outright lie.

Much was made by the defence over Msimango’s embellishment of his sworn statement – such as how Lukhele was apparently bound while people took turns to kick him, which is not in Msimango’s statement.

It seems as if the defence’s only defence is the standard denial, as it has not said if it can produce witnesses to say where any of its clients were at the time of the alleged incidents – including a trip to Ermelo to look for “Doctor”.

In contrast, the State will be relying on the testimony of eyewitnesses and cellphone data, placing the accused where incidents are alleged to have occurred.

Msimango, the first of about 10 witnesses, was finally released with a warning to remain available.

The trial continues on Monday.

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