Witness covering up for cop, says lawyer

Johannesburg - The defence lawyer of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and Desai Luphondo on Wednesday accused a State witness of covering up for a senior police officer.

Annelene van den Heever said Sergeant Vusimuzi Mogane was concealing the fact that Captain Freddy Ramuhala was present at the police station when a confession statement was taken from Luphondo.

Ramuhala was the investigating officer in the case.

Mogane told the court he had no clue who Ramuhala was and could therefore not dispute this point.

"I didn't know him. I didn't even know what he looked like," Mogane told the court.


Van den Heever said Luphondo's friends and family could attest to Ramuhale's presence at the station.
Mogane again said he could not comment on the matter.

The State and defence quickly concluded their questions for Mogane and he was released from the witness box.

Ramuhala, the fourth State witness in the trial-within-a-trial, was called to testify.

The trial-within-a-trial was launched after Van den Heever objected to Luphondo's confession being entered as evidence.

She claimed her client had been assaulted and influenced by the police into making it.

Van den Heever has told the court that Luphondo was kicked and assaulted by the police who arrested him at his home on 22 November 2013.

Stolen drugs

Krejcir, Luphondo, 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.