Cop testifies in Krejcir's trial

Johannesburg - A man who gave police a "confession and admission" in the case against himself, Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, and four others was not forced to make the statement, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, heard on Monday.

Captain Bongani Nicholas Gininda, who took down the confession from Desai Luphondo in November last year, said he informed him of his rights, ensured he wanted to make the confession and advised him of the consequences.

He said he also established what language would be suitable for him to deliver the confession in and the pair conversed in Zulu and English.

"I informed him he has nothing to fear," Gininda told the court, adding that Luphondo willingly initialled and placed his thumb print on each of the pages.

He was testifying in a trial-within-a trial after the court was told last week that Luphondo had been influenced into making the statement.

Luphondo's newly appointed lawyer, Annelene van den Heever, who also represents Krejcir, told the court last week that members of an elite police unit guarding the court had influenced Luphondo into making the confession.

Some of the officers had been part of the team involved in his arrest.

Krejcir, Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel "Saddam" Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya face charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and dealing in drugs.

The accused have all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

They allegedly recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle 25kg of tik (methamphetamine) to Australia.

He worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, and allegedly disappeared with the shipment.

Kidnapping and torture claims

Krejcir and his co-accused allegedly then kidnapped and tortured his brother, Bheki Lukhele, in a bid to have him reveal his sibling's whereabouts.

Nkosi has also testified in the trial, where he confessed to stealing the drugs.

Gininda, who had been brought in as an independent officer by the investigating officer to take the statement, said he asked Luphondo whether he had been assaulted.

Luphondo said he had not.

"There were no visible injuries and he said he was not assaulted," said Gininda.

"He said he didn't need a lawyer to tell the truth," he added, referring to notes he had written on the document containing the confession.

He said Luphondo told him he was not influenced by anyone, and did not have any expectations of giving this confession as no one had promised him anything.

It took Gininda over four hours to take down the four-page confession.

Gininda, who at the time was not part of the case, said he got involved in it several months later when he was appointed to probe a case of conspiracy to commit murder.

The case, in which Luphondo and several others were implicated, came about following allegations that there had been plans put in place to kill the investigating officer in the matter.