Ex-crime boss 'freed murder suspects'
Police investigation of claims that Mabasa stopped case 'is at advanced stage'.
Police have allegedly been carrying out an internal investigation into former Gauteng crime intelligence boss Joey Mabasa since 2009, after they received affidavits that claimed that Mabasa had interfered with a 2007 Laudium murder investigation.
The Mail & Guardian has two statements made by Imran Butt, in 2009 and 2010, in which he claims Mabasa ordered the investigating officer to release the suspects arrested for the murder of Rao Shehzaad Ali, who was shot dead in March 2007 — an apparent assassination.
When the M&G contacted Mabasa he said: “You can put whatever you want, please, please, please — I don’t care.”
But shortly afterwards he asked for the questions to be sent to him by SMS.
No response had been received by the time of going to press.
McIntosh Polela, the Hawks spokesperson, refused to say whether Mabasa is under investigation.
More recently Mabasa has been at the centre of speculation about his relationship with Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir after it emerged that Mabasa’s wife, Dorcas, registered a company with Krejcir’s wife, Katarina.
Now separate allegations have emerged relating to the Shehzaad Ali murder.
In the affidavits Butt, who appears to have contacts in police intelligence, states that in 2009 he helped the police trace the alleged killers.
A Pakistani national, Sajjad Ahmed, and three others were arrested and charged, but the case was thrown out of court due to a lack of evidence.
Butt, who appears to have worked in an electronics outlet run by Ahmed, told police that Ahmed had admitted his involvement.
In one affidavit Butt states: “On 2009-11-19 I took the police to Johannesburg and showed them where the suspects were. Four — were arrested, including one Sajjad Ahmed who, according to his own admission to me, was responsible for pulling the trigger of the firearm —
“After interrogation of the suspects, Sajjad Ahmed took the police to his residence in Robertsham, Johannesburg, where the firearm that was used in the murder was pointed out.
The exhibit was seized by the police. I was made to believe that the four arrested suspects made admissions to the police about their involvement in the murder.”
Butt, who describes himself as self-employed, claims that on November 23 2009 he was travelling with a Lieutenant-Colonel Dijenga from the Pretoria magistrate’s court to the Atteridgeville magistrate’s court with the suspects, including Ahmed, when Dijenga received a call.
“I heard him saying, ‘How are you, commissioner?’
They continued talking and after finishing the conversation — Dijenga said, ‘I’m in shit. I’m in trouble’.
“I asked him why he is in trouble and he explained to us that it was Commissioner (now Major General) Mabasa, head of Gauteng crime intelligence, who called him and told him that ‘he must stop interfering with big people’ and that Lieutenant Colonel Dijenga must release all the suspects in the case immediately.
He said that he was instructed by Major General Mabasa not to take the suspects to court but to release them.”
According to Butt’s statement Mabasa told Dijenga that the suspects had to be released because Butt “gave false information” and was “a liar” and they could not rely on his information.
“I found this very strange as I have never up to date even met Major General Mabasa or spoken to him,” Butt stated.
Butt would not comment, but a source who has been involved in the Mabasa investigation told the M&G that the head of crime intelligence, General Richard Mdluli, was told of Butt’s affidavits and Mabasa’s alleged interference in the murder case.
Mdluli was arrested two weeks ago and faces charges that include murder, corruption and defeating the ends of justice in connection with the murder of a Vosloorus man, Oupa Ramogibe, in 1999.
The source, who asked not to be named, said that Mdluli called Dijenga to confirm Mabasa’s phone call to the investigating officer.
But nothing further had happened and the source said that he believed that “Mdluli wanted to have something on Mabasa”.
The source, who said that Mabasa was subjected to an internal investigation by crime intelligence officials and placed under surveillance, claimed that the investigation had reached an advanced stage — but that Mabasa had repeatedly been leaked information about its progress.
In his second affidavit, dated October 9 2010, Butt states that he “feels very threatened and scared to ever help the police — as I am receiving death threats and threatening messages.
Why now all of a sudden when Mabasa interfered my life is threatened?”
This article was produced by amaBhungane, investigators of the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit initiative to enhance capacity for investigative journalism in the public interest. www.amabhungane.co.za.