/ 25 August 2011

Beeka’s brothers in arms

Beeka's Brothers In Arms

Disputes over the ownership of a company that belonged to the late Cyril Beeka are throwing new light on his relationships, including those with Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, controversial security consultant Brad Wood, high-profile company RAM couriers and an ANC-linked security firm.

Beeka was shot and killed earlier this year, allegedly when two men opened fire on his car in Cape Town.

The link with the ANC firm, Zonkizizwe Security Services, suggests that Krejcir — via Beeka — was able to infiltrate the party’s informal intelligence structures.

Beeka, who mixed with gangsters and high-profile ANC figures, was also the national security adviser for the RAM courier group.

RAM Hand-to-Hand Couriers is owned by the Lazarus family and specialises in delivering high-value items such as diamonds.

Confidential Deterrent

The Beeka-owned company at the centre of the dispute is Confidential Deterrent Systems, which he set up with Bradford “Bad Brad” Wood.

Both Krejcir and RAM are implicated in funding part of Beeka’s share in the company, with Krejcir reportedly having lodged a claim against Beeka’s estate in connection with Confidential.

Beeka’s widow, Sonja, has, in turn, denied that his share in the company was funded by Krejcir. She claims her husband was financed by RAM, “the company he worked for”.

RAM has described Beeka as a “consultant” and has denied any involvement with Confidential. But this denial is contradicted by several factors, including:

  • The Mail & Guardian has in its possession an unsigned agreement, drawn up by RAM’s in-house legal adviser in September last year, in which the company agrees to lend Beeka R500 000 to buy 49% of Confidential from Wood. It appears RAM wished to use Beeka as a front, because there was a back-to-back agreement by which RAM agreed to purchase the 49% of Confidential from Beeka. But RAM’s joint managing director, David Lazarus, said that the agreement had not gone through and was “never signed by anyone other than Brad Wood”.

    “To the best of our knowledge, at a later stage, and in the final agreement that was effected, Cyril Beeka purchased and owned 100% of Confidential Deterrent Systems,” Lazarus said.

  • However, Wood said he did indeed agree to the sale of his shares, which he said were paid for by RAM. He told the M&G that Beeka and RAM had agreed to pay him R360 000, with the balance being paid through contract work for his dog security unit.

    This happened after August last year when Wood became embroiled in a murder case at a mine run by the controversial Aurora Empowerment Systems. Wood is facing murder charges after four alleged illegal miners were shot and killed at the Grootvlei mine, then controlled by Aurora. The company is part-owned by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse, and Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa.

    Beeka allegedly called Wood, saying the publicity had “put Confidential Deterrent Systems in a bad light” and asking him whether he “would be prepared to sell his 49% shares”.

  • Wood said that following the sale agreement he dropped off a cache of weapons, which included semi-automatic rifles registered to Confidential, at RAM’s office near OR Tambo International Airport. He said the weapons had been received by Sean Ahmed, who is understood to be a RAM employee, and another RAM staff member whose name is known to the M&G.

    Lazarus said: “The late Cyril Beeka guided and advised RAM’s security staff on how to protect the company’s assets on a day-to-day basis and, accordingly, had access to RAM’s offices. As to the accuracy of Mr Wood’s comments, we are unable to confirm or deny same as we have no knowledge [of them]. Sean Ahmed has been employed by the RAM Group since 2002.”

  • Further complicating the picture is information that the weapons were transferred to premises occupied by Zonkizizwe, which is led by a former senior ANC security figure, Paul Langa, and is widely regarded as one of the party’s informal security arms.

    The M&G has established that Confidential occupied an office in the Zonkizizwe building in Randburg. The M&G contacted Langa on August 25 but he had not responded by the time of going to print.

  • Ahmed told the M&G its questions should be put to the executor of the estate. “RAM has got nothing to do with Confidential Deterrent Systems,” he said.

    Attorney Juan Smuts, who is handling the Beeka estate, confirmed that the rifles were being kept at the Zonkizizwe address. He said they were being held by Ahmed on behalf of a company called Avanti Security.

    But Lazarus said: “We have no idea of who Avanti is and have had no dealings with this entity.”

    Avanti is apparently an offshoot of Red Security, a company owned by Beeka’s brother, Edward. Company registration records show that Ahmed became a director and 51% shareholder of Avanti in 2009.

    Ahmed is co-director with Edward in another company, SMG-Services Management Group Holdings.

    Smuts told the M&G that Krejcir, at a meeting on May 3, agreed that he would furnish evidence of his interest in Confidential, but had not done so.

    Letter of demand
    Krejcir had also not lodged any claims against the deceased estate, he said, although he had received a letter of demand relating to the repayment of R2-million against an entity called SMG Business Development and Training Consultants.

    Ahmed is also registered as a director of CIS-Continental Integrated Services, a company that was planning to go into business with Krejcir and Beeka to buy a share in a gold refinery, Pan African Refineries, that is co-owned by Juan Meyer.

    Meyer was the first to blow the whistle on links between Krejcir and Beeka. He is facing charges relating to a R10-million gold shipment that was seized in a joint operation by the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service in May last year.

    Meyer’s name also appeared on the alleged hit list discovered in Krejcir’s home during a Hawks raid earlier this year.

    On August 25, another Krejcir associate, Djordje Mihaljevic, appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on criminal charges relating to the misrepresentation of his VAT receipts. It is understood that the charges relate to allegedly fraudulent invoices he issued to Pan African Refineries.

    Mihaljevic denies the charges but told the M&G he would not comment. He did not plead and the case was postponed to October 21. He was released on R10 000 bail.

    Krejcir was quoted in the New Age newspaper as saying that he had bought Confidential for his son, Denis. But a source close to Beeka told the M&G that Krejcir might want to lay claim to Confidential and the weapons because of an anti-piracy maritime contract Beeka was close to finalising for the company before he was killed. The contract was allegedly worth millions of dollars and entailed Confidential escorting and protecting cargo ships headed to South Africa, the source said.

    Krejcir’s lawyer, Eddie Classen, declined to answer the M&G‘s questions.

    Ahmed declined to comment.

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