Correctional Services to probe Krejcir's telephonic interview
The Department of Correctional Services says it has appointed a special investigative team to probe a telephonic interview between Eyewitness News (EWN) and convicted Czech drug dealer Radovan Krejcir.
"This is a serious transgression considering that inmates do not have the right to be interviewed, unless permission is granted by the relevant authorities," said spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.
In the article, which was published on Friday morning, it's alleged that Krejcir told the publication about his extradition case and why he believed he was moved from one prison to another.
"The investigative team has been given twenty-four hours to conduct an inquiry and report back to the national commissioner of correctional services," Nxumalo said.
He also added that the department had deployed an "experienced senior manager to oversee operations at Leeuwkop Correctional facility until further notice".
"Correctional services takes this matter seriously as it undermines the mandate of the corrections which entails safe and secure custody of inmates under humane conditions. Hence, unbecoming behaviour by DCS officials and inmates will not be tolerated.
"Correctional services is utterly dismayed by this conduct and those who aided inmate Radovan Krejcir will be spared no mercy," Nxumalo said.
Attempted murder and kidnapping
News24 reported this week that explosive new claims by Krejcir had triggered an investigation by South Africa's police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), that could implicate a senior ANC politician.
In a bombshell 17-page affidavit that News24 has seen, Krejcir highlighted allegations of torture at the hands of his arresting officers and how the same former senior police officials allegedly manufactured evidence to put him and others behind bars.
IPID has confirmed it is investigating Krejcir's claims and those of two of his co-accused, Desai Luphondo and Jan Lefu Mofokeng.
Krejcir, Luphondo and Mofokeng and three others were convicted in 2015 of charges relating to the kidnap and torture of Bheki Lukhele whose brother, Doctor, had allegedly disappeared with 25kg of tik.
The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg found all three men guilty of attempted murder and kidnapping.
Luphondo was found guilty of dealing in drugs while Krejcir and Mofokeng were found guilty of intent to deal in drugs.
Luphondo and Krejcir were sentenced to an effective 35 years in prison, while Mofokeng received an effective 15 years for his role.
Investigation 'at an advanced stage'
Krejcir has now told investigators that he believes his troubles came as a result of a R5m deal he concluded with a senior politician and their relative in a bid to seek asylum papers to protect him from authorities in his home country.
Krejcir claims he paid the politician's relative R2.5m in 2011, but by 2013 they had not held up their end of the bargain.
According to Krejcir, soon after he started demanding his funds back, he came under investigation by a group of senior police officers, and some have now left the SAPS.
This, News24 understands, was a probe over and above existing investigations into Krejcir by the Hawks and Interpol, among other agencies.
The ANC politician and former police officials cannot be named as the Czech fugitive's claims have yet to be corroborated.
Some of the torture claims by Krejcir have already been made during his much-publicised trial relating to Lukhele, but new details about the actions of his arresting officers have given IPID investigators other avenues to explore in its fight against suspicious police officers.
"The investigation is at an advanced stage, but that is all we can confirm at this time," IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini told News24 at the time.
He said IPID received complaints from two of Krejcir's co-accused, who had written to the Presidency.
"The credibility of the allegations will be determined by the investigation," Dlamini added.