Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir ordered the kidnapping and torture of the brother of a man involved in a drug deal that went wrong, the high court in Johannesburg sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Monday.
Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya are on trial on charges of dealing in drugs, attempted murder, and kidnapping. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutor Louis Mashiane called his first witness, Peter Vusi Msimango to testify. The victim, Bheki Lukhele, is the brother of another man known only as Doctor, who worked at a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport. Doctor disappeared with 25kg of tik that he was tasked to help transport to Australia in June last year. Msimango, a businessperson from Boksburg, said he was asked to help find Doctor because he knew the Natalspruit area very well.
Mashiane asked Msimango to tell the court what happened. Krejcir ordered “his policemen” to kidnap Lukhele after he refused to come along and undergo a lie detector test, Msimango said.
Lukhele was picked up at his home in Katlehong and brought to Krejcir’s business premises, Money Point in Bedfordview. His hands were bound, a bag was put over his head and he was made to face a wall.
Krejcir, Luphondo, Maropeng, Miya, Mofokeng and two other men took turns to assault the victim, Msimango said.
‘Why are you lying … ‘
“They all took part in asking him where his brother Doctor was … he told them he did not know and last saw him two days earlier.” The men kicked Lukhele. Krejcir ordered that the bag be removed from his head, Msimango said. Msimango told the court Krejcir said to the man: “Look at me … do you know who I am? Why are you lying about your brother? You want to die like a soldier? Well, that’s fine then.”
Krejcir poured boiling water from a kettle onto his head. “The boy gave out an excruciating scream … stopped and then started shaking,” Msimango said. Lukhele asked to call Doctor.
Krejcir instructed his men to drive him to a place far from the office so he could make the phone call. Msimango accompanied them to a place near Alexandra where a cellphone was assembled and Lukhele called his brother.
“He said, ‘Doctor, my life is in your hands. Return whatever you owe these people. If I die, this is all in your hands’,” Msimango said. Luphondo took the phone and told Doctor to make it easy for everyone and return the consignment. “Doctor told Luphondo that what they did was a provocation and that they would be arrested for kidnapping.”
Doctor promised Luphondo he would bring the drugs the following day accompanied by his father, Msimango said. Maropeng, who Msimango called “Saddam”, had arrived at the Eastgate mall hours earlier after being summoned by Krejcir to kidnap Lukhele. Msimango said Maropeng was a police officer in Natalspruit and he had known him for over 10 years. The trial continues. – Sapa