Hawks probe top cops

The Hawks are probing senior members of police crime intelligence over allegations that they interfered with the Hawks’ investigation into Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela would not comment. However, a source close to the Hawks, an intelligence source and a prosecuting authority official have all confirmed that the investigation centres on former Gauteng crime intelligence boss Joey Mabasa and the head of crime intelligence, General Richard Mdluli.

“You are phoning the wrong person,” Mabasa told the Mail & Guardian. “I do not know anything about that; you must ask them [the Hawks].”

Mdluli could not be reached for comment.

The probe is understood to focus on allegations that crime intelligence engaged in extensive phone-tapping of Hawks members and others involved in the Krejcir investigation.


The issue of who motivated for this surveillance, who approved it and whether the information was passed on to Krejcir is a key focus of the investigation.

It is speculated that the reason advanced for the surveillance of a Hawks investigation would have been the allegation that it was being manipulated by private forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan.

It is alleged that in at least one case, intercepted conversations found their way to targets of the Hawks’ investigation, which includes not only Krejcir but a number of his associates.

Mabasa has previously been accused of holding meetings with Krejcir at Sandton’s Michelangelo hotel, something the two men have denied.

The M&G revealed last year that Mabasa’s wife and Krejcir’s wife had set up a company together. Mabasa claimed he had been separated from his wife for the past 15 years, despite credit records showing that they had given the same home addresses for the past four years.

Mabasa was also the officer who claimed he received a telephonic confession from former Krejcir employee George Smith (aka Louka) after Smith had supposedly shot Lolly Jackson.

Furthermore, Mabasa took an active interest in the investigation into the disappearance and murder of German businessman Uwe Gemballa, although investigating officer Ludi Schnelle did not report to him.

It is believed that the Hawks’ investigation also involves a probe into how a vital piece of evidence — a laptop computer seized from Krejcir’s business manager, Ivan Savov — later disappeared from Schnelle’s office.

The laptop contained highly sensitive information about the financial aspects of Krejcir’s South African operation and may have contained details of individuals he was paying or had paid.

The loss of the laptop led to Schnelle’s transfer and his removal from the Gemballa investigation.

Krejcir, who disappeared just ahead of the Hawks raid on his home this week, appears adept at manipulating political and state institutions.

In court papers lodged in 2007, Krejcir admitted he had agreed to advance R20-million for the election campaign of a Czech presidential candidate in return for an expectation he would gain control of the state oil company should the candidate be successful.

In the Czech Republic his escape while detained by senior police officers led to a national scandal. At the time of going to press Krejcir was still at large, despite pleas from his lawyers to hand himself over to police.

Meanwhile, the M&G can reveal the SARS’ raid on Krejcir’s Bedfordview mansion — in which two of his cars were seized — is part of a much wider investigation into the network around the Czech and his possible links with a major Balkan crime syndicate.

Krejcir has scoffed at the notion that he is some big Mafia boss. However, the M&G has been told that investigations are under way into suspected links between Krejcir, one of his business partners and a notorious Montenegran crime family centred on two brothers, Darko and Dusko Saric.

Serbian prosecutors have indicted Darko Saric and 19 of his associates for their alleged roles in an international cocaine smuggling operation. Saric’s organisation allegedly smuggles cocaine from South America to Western Europe and is said to have earned €5-billion from the drug trade.

He allegedly paid Montenegro officials €1-million per shipment to turn a blind eye.

In October 2009 authorities seized 2.8 tonnes of cocaine from a ship that they believe belonged to Saric. Security for top Serbian officials was increased following reports that Saric’s organisation was preparing to retaliate and kill several top state officials, including the president.

Darko is understood to have fled to Switzerland at the end of 2010, but his current whereabouts are not known.

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story. All views are the centre’s. www.amabhungane.co.za.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sam Sole Author
Guest Author
Sam Sole
Sam Sole works from South Africa. Journalist and managing partner of the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism. Digging dirt, fertilising democracy. Sam Sole has over 17731 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

Vigorous policing of petty crime during the pandemic suggests a Pyrrhic defeat

The ideological aims of the criminal justice system in dysfunctional societies, like South Africa, is to indirectly legitimise the inequitable economic system

Rise in forced labour expected amid the Covid-19 economic crisis

Criminals prey on desperate people by offering them false promises of a better life. In fact, they are coercing them into lives of exploitation and misery

Security at schools is not the community’s responsibility

It is unrealistic to expect vulnerable people to ensure that nearby schools aren’t vandalised or robbed

Rehumanising Diego Maradona

In two recent documentaries, we finally get up close to the complicated sadness of Argentina’s original football deity

Don’t wage war against SA’s poor

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed heavy-handed, brutal and, at times, lethal action by some members of the police

Drug-policy NGOs call for alcohol and cigarette sales ban to be lifted

NGOs say the lockdown has detrimental effects on people living with substance dependence, as they try to get their fix amid heavy restriction of movement
Advertising

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday