Krejcir cop relied on memory, not diary

Johannesburg - The investigating officer behind the arrest of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others did not own an official police diary as required by the SA Police Service, the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Wednesday.

"I don't have a diary," Captain Mashudu Freddy Ramuhala told the court.

"They never provided me with one," he said.

Ramuhala was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Annelene van Heever for Krejcir and Desai Luphondo.

Van den Heever asked him why he did not purchase one for himself.

"If I buy myself a diary, it is no longer an office diary but it's a personal diary," he responded.

He claimed he had made no notes regarding the arrest of Krejcir and Luphondo on 22 November, 2013.

"I am simply saying that the events that involve me, I cannot forget them," he said.

"There is nowhere that I made a record of it but I can remember it."

Attempting to test his memory, Van den Heever asked him for Luphondo's address.

With his arms crossed in front of his chest, Ramuhala was able to give the court the correct address.

He was also able to give the court times of when the pair's arrest took place.

Ramuhala, who has 37 years police experience, was testifying in the trial-within-a-trial aimed at establishing whether Luphondo was pressured into a confession by the police.

Kicked, slapped, suffocated

The trial-within-a-trial was launched after Van den Heever objected to the confession being entered as evidence, claiming her client had been unduly influenced into making it.

According to Van den Heever, Luphondo was kicked, slapped and suffocated by Desmond Campbell, the alleged driver of Colonel Nkosana "Killer" Ximba.

Ramuhala dismissed the basis of the trial-within-a-trial by denying that he or any of his police team had assaulted Luphondo when he was arrested.

Ramuhala denied that Ximba played any part in their investigations. He claimed Ximba was not present at the arrest.

Luphondo was arrested at his Sandown, Johannesburg home, but was detained at the Viljoensdrift police station in the Free State.

Ramuhala gave the court the details of the lengthy drive that police took to the Free State, making a stop in Kensington, along with Luphondo.

"That is the police station I thought was safe," Ramuhala said.

"Safe from what?" asked Van den Heever.

"From anything," he responded.

Luphondo was transported back to Johannesburg the next day to deliver his confession.

Ramuhala said he did not know the officers at the Free State police station and therefore decided to transport Luphondo back to Johannesburg to deliver it.

He told the court he was not present when Luphondo delivered his statement, neither did he influence him into making it.

"During the arrest when I explained his rights and informed him of the charge, he told me that he knew about the case and was prepared to make a statement," Ramuhala said.

He was expected back on the stand when court resumes on Thursday.

Luphondo, Krejcir, Warrant Officers Samuel "Saddam" Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya are on trial for kidnapping, attempted murder and dealing in drugs.

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, when he disappeared with the shipment.

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.