Sunday, March 27, 2011

Krejcir search ‘not by the book’

Krejcir search ‘not by the book’
March 27 2011 at 08:06am

Independent Newspapers

Police raid the Bedfordview home of Czech national Radovan Krejcir. Pictures: Etienne Creux.

Evidence seized in this week’s raid on the home of Czech fugitive and alleged crime boss Radovan Krejcir may return to haunt the South African Police Service’s already beleaguered special investigations unit.

A search party of around 60 made up of members of the Hawks unit together with a squad from SAPS’ premier swat team, the task force, customs officials, a sprinkling of media and self-styled private security consultant Paul O’Sullivan descended dramatically on Krejcir’s Bedford View mansion in the early hours of Wednesday, crashing through the security gate in a Nyala armoured vehicle.

Though Krejcir himself was not there the police arrested Krejcir’s teenage son as well as one of his employees in a high-risk scenario.

Later both were released without being charged. Two supercars and assorted items of evidence were also given back.

But, The Sunday Independent can reveal the police left more questions in their wake than shattered gate hinges.

Among the anomalies in the operation are:

- The Hawks had neglected to obtain either a search or an arrest warrant, as they are required to do by law.

- People found on the premises were kept under guard outside the house. Proper procedure requires that police investigators are monitored and an agreed record is kept of what is removed from the premises.

- Valuables including a collection of designer watches worth around R1 million were removed but not listed in the inventory of evidence.

- The operation does not appear to have been authorised by the top command of the Hawks unit.

- Vigilante security consultant Paul O’Sullivan was, according to witnesses’ accounts, directing proceedings. He was not authorised to be present in a police search party. O’Sullivan is a former police reservist but is no longer under the discipline of police codes of ethics, or empowered to act as a law enforcement officer.

“We have yet to see any documents that show the raid was either legal or authorised”, said Krejcir’s legal representative Piet du Plessis, “and until we do, we will treat it as an illegal action.”

Du Plessis said charges – both civil and criminal were being prepared. Among them are kidnap and assault in connection with the detention of three people in connection with the raid. - De Wet Potgieter and investigations staff

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