Following this week’s reinstatement of certain charges against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, the focus may now shift to his protégé, Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba. Mdluli controversially promoted him from constable to colonel in 2010, in what was regarded as a huge jump.
Ximba and police officers Samuel Dlomo and Mtunzi-Omhle Mtunzi were charged with Oupa Ramogibe’s murder alongside Mdluli in 2011, but the 18 charges were controversially withdrawn pending the outcome of a murder inquest.
Ximba is a key member of a joint police task team investigating Radovan Krejcir, an alleged organised crime boss and fugitive from justice in the Czech Republic.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would not give a direct answer to amaBhungane on Thursday on whether it intended to recharge Ximba alongside Mdluli.
In November 2012 Judge Jurg Viviers, who presided over the inquest into Ramogibe’s 1999 murder, found that there was insufficient evidence to link Mdluli or his co-accused to his death.
The other 17 charges, which included kidnapping, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and intimidation, were never tested.
But all that changed this week when the NPA notified both Mdluli and legal lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL) that some charges had been reinstated.
FUL brought an application in 2012 to have all the charges against Mdluli reinstated – including those linked to his alleged abuse of the crime intelligence unit’s secret service account, charges also withdrawn in controversial circumstances.
Although the NPA would not comment on the details of the charges, FUL chairperson Johann Kriegler reportedly confirmed that the NPA had informed the body that “the violence charges related to the murder” will be reinstated. But the NPA is not proceeding with the murder and attempted murder charges.
Mdluli has been the focal point of the Ramogibe case and other matters connected to the crime intelligence division of the police.
Since Mdluli’s relegation to the sidelines following his suspension from the police two years ago, Ximba has quietly continued to rise up the crime intelligence ranks, but it is Ximba’s central involvement in the ongoing investigation into Krejcir that has elevated his public status.
Plastic bag and a Taser
Since Krejcir’s illegal arrival in South Africa in 2007, his name has been linked to numerous underworld murders and crimes, but it has taken four years for a charge to stick.
Ximba personally arrested Krejcir last year on kidnapping, drug-related and assault charges, and was accused by the Czech fugitive of torture.
Following his arrest in December, Krejcir claimed that Ximba had driven him around for six hours and tortured him using a plastic bag and a Taser stun gun to extract a confession.
In January, police foiled an alleged hit that was about to be carried out on Ximba and private investigator Paul O’Sullivan. Krejcir and seven others are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Though police and intelligence sources admit that it could be problematic if Ximba is re-charged, it has also been claimed that Ximba was one of the reasons for the growing mistrust between members of the task team, which includes the Hawks, crime intelligence and the detectives division.
Meanwhile, asked whether Ximba would also be charged like Mdluli, NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube replied in vague terms: “Unfortunately, we will not divulge the detail of charges that will be reinstated, as Mr Mdluli and other affected parties are yet to be formally advised of the NDPP [national director of public prosecutions] decision.
“The national director of public prosecutions is in the process of engaging with the lawyers of the affected parties with the view to find a suitable date upon which to appear in court. Summonses are being prepared,” Mncube said.
Several police sources also claimed that Ximba’s increasingly active role in law enforcement is a concern, considering past allegations against him.
During the Ramogibe murder inquest in 2012, Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse presented the court with a statement relating to the four accused.
Roelofse noted that Ximba had failed to disclose various incidents, including one from September 2009 when the police’s Independent Complaints Directorate (now the Independent Police Investigative Directorate) arrested him after he was accused of torturing a complainant, Vusi Msimango.
Msimango, who had previously claimed that Ximba repeatedly choked and threatened to kill him, changed his tune when he testified for the state last month in Krejcir’s kidnapping case, denying the colonel was involved in torturing him.
Msimango was allegedly involved in kidnapping a man whose brother had stolen drugs belonging to Krejcir.
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