Saturday, April 7, 2012
Beeka killing breakthrough
A Time: 07 April 2012 12:51:14 PM
Beeka killing breakthrough
April 7 2012 at 09:15am
By HENRIËTTE GELDENHUYS
Cyril Beeka. Photo: Leon Muller
Police have a secret witness who could help solve two of Cape Town’s most sensational unsolved murder mysteries of recent years – the drive-by assassination of crime boss Cyril Beeka in March 2011, and the brutal gunning down of notorious Ukrainian underworld enforcer Yuri “The Russian” Ulianitski, along with his four-year-old daughter, outside a Milnerton restaurant in 2007.
The witness – a Cape Town gangster apparently personally implicated in both killings – is reportedly seeking a plea bargain with the State.
Sources close to the investigation said that under negotiation was an arrangement whereby he would be guaranteed indemnity from prosecution, or a reduced sentence, for fingering the masterminds behind the Beeka and Ulianitski murders.
Eight sources have independently confirmed the man is in protective custody. It is understood he is being guarded under the authority of a senior SAPS crime intelligence officer.
But Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela and national police spokesman Vish Naidoo said they were unable to confirm or deny reports the man is in witness protection.
One of the investigating officers in the Beeka case, who may not be named, according to police protocol, also said he knew nothing about the man in witness protection. The investigator said he had not interviewed this man, but added it was possible “crime intelligence took him away”.
At the time of his death, Beeka was assisting with the probe into crime intelligence boss Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli. Last week Mdluli’s suspension was lifted after the National Prosecuting Authority controversially dropped fraud charges, in defiance of Intelligence Inspector General Faith Radebe’s recommendation.
One of the two masterminds the gangster allegedly fingered is a Cape Town entrepreneur. The other one has been identified as an alleged gang leader.
After a weeks-long investigation, Weekend Argus understands the gangster spilling the beans was closely associated with ill-fated bouncer operation Specialised Protection Services (SPS), which emerged to fill the vacuum left by Beeka’s death in the Cape Town bouncer business.
Earlier this year a court order closed down SPS after it emerged the company was, in the absence of accreditation, operating illegally with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (Psira).
In a deal reminiscent of the arrangement which saw Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Fiazal “Kappie” Smith – the self-confessed murderers of mining magnate Brett Kebble – exchange indemnity from prosecution for testimony against underworld tycoon Glenn Agliotti, the gang member is apparently seeking to escape prosecution as a pay-off for bringing the masterminds to book.
Alternatively, he may enter into a plea bargain with the State, which may lead to a lighter sentence for his involvement.
“He was involved in Cyril and Yuri’s murders, and he has implicated the masterminds, who face being charged with conspiracy to murder,” one of the sources said.
Weekend Argus’s sources indicated the legislation being explored for this process was different from the provisions of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act – as controversially invoked in the case of Schultz and his accomplices.
The Brett Kebble killers notoriously failed to implicate Agliotti to the court’s satisfaction – leading to the acquittal of Agliotti and, with the indemnity of the shooters, the failure of the State to bring any of the conspirators to book.
Beeka was shot and killed duringa drive-by shooting in Modderdam Road in Bellville on March 21 last year. Shots were fired from a motorcycle into the four-wheel-drive vehicle in which he and fugitive Serbian hitman Dobrasov Gavric were travelling. Beeka died and Gavric was seriously injured.
Ulianitski, a one-time associate of Beeka in the bouncer business, and then a business partner of Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman in strip clubs and other enterprises, was shot dead while leaving a restaurant on Woodbridge Island, Milnerton, in 2007. Also killed was Ulianitski’s daughter Yulia, 4.
When Weekend Argus tried over the past three weeks to locate the gangster allegedly in protective custody, he was not at any of his regular haunts. People who know him said they had not seen him in Cape Town in weeks, while staff at Vacca Matta in Edward Street in Durbanville, where he works, said they had not seen him in months.