Ailing Louka awaits ruling on whether he can return to Cyprus

2015-04-21 17:32
George Louka (Jenni Evans, News24)

George Louka (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Johannesburg - The man accused of killing strip club franchise owner Lolly Jackson hopes to know on Wednesday if he can return home to Cyprus for what may be his last few months of life.

George Louka was originally supposed to have been in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Tuesday to hear the correctional services department’s application to let him go home for palliative care, as his lawyers say he has final stage lung cancer.

In addition to the murder charge, Louka faces two charges of theft, and possession of stolen items - one relates to stolen takkies worth over R1m.

The case is unusual because the application, in terms of Section 49e of the Correctional Services Act, is for a remand prisoner who is awaiting trial, and has not had a verdict yet. It is not the same as the medical parole application of someone who has been found guilty and sentenced.

When Judge Geraldine Borchers wanted to know whether Louka would return for the September trial, with his history of already fleeing the country once, he surprised everybody by saying he wanted to testify.

Court was adjourned and interpreter Charles Moloi agreed to repeat loudly everything the barely audible Louka said from his wheelchair, while taking intermittent hits from his oxygen nebuliser.

Then, instead of merely stating that he promised to return in September if he was well enough, he proceeded to give his version of what happened on the night of May 3 2010, when Teazers owner Jackson was killed in a house in Edleen, on the East Rand.

Borchers tried to stop him, saying she was only concerned about whether he would come back to South Africa to testify, always adding the sensitive caveat "if well enough to testify''.


Speaking in a hoarse whisper, an oxygen tank hissing between his knees, Louka said the reason he ran away after Jackson's murder was important.

Louka gurgle-coughed and battled to speak as he explained that if he was allowed to leave prison, "home" would be Cyprus with his wife and four children.

He begged to be allowed to return to them so that if he did die of lung cancer, he would be surrounded by his family.

''Please. Please. Please," he asked Borchers.

Borchers heard that it had taken almost two years to get him back to South Africa after he left the country when Jackson was killed, and the state did not want him to disappear again.

Prosecutor Paul Schutte said tah during Louka's address to the court earlier, it had emerged that he would not even be staying in the house in Cyprus listed in the application.

Louka had said he would be living in a safe place and was worried for his safety, not only because he was scared of what Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir might do, but also because he had refused to be a drug agent when approached by Krejcir's people in Cyprus.

Louka's testimony

Louka told the court that Krejcir shot Jackson dead during an argument.

Borchers wanted to know why there was no talk of a return ticket to Cyprus. His lawyer, Wayne Gibbs, said four tickets would be booked to take Louka home. Schutte disagreed with claims that Louka, as an awaiting trial prisoner in South Africa, would not get the palliative care he needed.

By his own admission, Louka bribed a border official with $1 000 to let him slip into Mozambique after Jackson's death. Using his Cypriot passport, he flew to Portugal, then Greece.

He said Krejcir had offered to help him get out of the country. Krejcir had told him about ''one of his countrymen'' he should go and see at the Nicol Hotel in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, for help leaving. He said Krejcir gave him R5 000 when he went to the hotel. However, he eventually left with his South African ID and the dollar bribe.

Krejcir, he said, killed Jackson, when the two fought over a supposedly forged money transfer receipt for money that Krejcir owed Jackson. Louka said Krejcir had pumped bullets into Jackson, pointing at his own chest to indicate where the shots had been fired.

''Lolly, he took from his pocket a Swift money transfer of the money that had been transferred into Lolly's account. But it's Lolly who found out in two weeks’ time it was a fake one. That's why he was so upset," explained Louka.

''Lolly, he was swearing very badly. By that time, things start getting... [they were] pushing each other. That time, Radovan and Lolly were touching one another and pushing.

"And Lolly, he called Radovan," said Louka, trailing off to ask his counsel: ''Am I allowed to say?"

"’You don't know, motherfucker who I am,’ Jackson told Krejcir,” Louka said.

“Lolly, sorry Radovan, he put the gun and he shot him."

This took place in the bar of the house.

Jackson asked for help, but Krejcir pushed Louka back when he approached him.

''Radovan was at his [Jackson's] side. He kick him twice, on the ribs and he say to him: 'Now you know who I am'. Radovan he ask me, when he told me now you know who I am, he carry on shoot him, I think in the chest, I don't know.

''Lolly, I couldn't see, he was passing,'' said Louka, imitating the throaty death rattle Jackson had made.

When he saw businessman Cyril Beeka arrive at the house, he became more scared and left.

Beeka was killed in a drive-by shooting in Cape Town in 2011. Louka said he called police Major General Joey Mabasa to tell him what had happened and Mabasa told him to go to the Harbour Cafe in Bedfordview. He said he obeyed because Mabasa was a major, and one obeyed someone in that position.

He wanted to meet Mabasa ''to tell the truth'', but he did not arrive. Krejcir and Beeka were there and told him to leave the country. Once back in Cyprus, Krejcir allegedly asked him to act as an agent to receive and sell drugs. Louka said he refused.

''That's when the threat came direct. He said to me you don't have many choices. You are going to work with us or we take you out."

And so, said Louka, he did not feel it was safe to return to South Africa.

Read more on:    radovan krejcir  |  lolly jackson  |  george louka  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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