Ex-friend denies she lied to hurt ‘dealer’

2008-05-18 00:00

A former friend of alleged Pietermaritzburg drug dealer Joyce Komane, who faces multiple drug-related charges in the regional court along with four co-accused, denied on Friday that she falsely implicated Komane in offences because of a rift that has developed between them.

Luthabile Gordon testified that she was a close friend of Komane, who owned a number of properties, a restaurant and a boutique in the city. She claimed that Komane supplied her husband (Lucky Gordon — a 1997 R1,8 million lottery winner) with mandrax, which he sold during the ’90s.

She admitted to assisting by introducing him to customers, but she did not personally sell drugs.

She told the court that she once accompanied Komane to the home of alleged drug queen Ramjini Chetty, who was "Joyce’s friend", so Chetty could "cut" a block of cocaine for Komane. She said she saw the cocaine in a plastic bag en route there.

Defence advocate Fanie Slabbert suggested to Gordon that she was blatantly lying, as in her earlier evidence she implied that this happened more than once.

He also confronted her with her failure to inform the Scorpions investigators about the alleged cocaine incident, as she only mentioned mandrax to them.

Slabbert suggested to Gordon that she read about the cocaine allegations in the newspaper and decided to "add insult to injury" by falsely adding this when she testified against Komane.

Gordon said it was the truth.

She agreed that she told the Scorpions that Komane had said she bought "several houses and flats and registered them in the names of other people".

Slabbert suggested that this was clearly false as she testified that Komane had a house in Bisley —allegedly bought by Komane’s mother — a house in Pelham and a flat in Loop Street. The flat, according to Gordon, was registered in the name of Mngadi and was the only property that could be in someone else’s name, Slabbert suggested.

Slabbert said that both Chetty and Komane will deny having had any drug dealings with Gordon.

The trial, in which Komane, Chetty, Surychand Maharaj, Bongi Dlamini and Jessendren Pillay, face 36 charges, has been adjourned until September 29.

Charges against a sixth accused, Sibusiso Dlamini, were provisionally withdrawn as he cannot be found.

The accused have all pleaded not guilty to two charges of racketeering, 26 of dealing in cocaine (or alternative charges of possessing cocaine or conspiracy to deal in the drug), seven of money laundering and one of fraud.

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