Former Rwandan Intelligence head's murder case referred back to the NPA

2019-04-19 20:08
Patrick Karegeya, Rwanda's former spy chief. (File, AP)

Patrick Karegeya, Rwanda's former spy chief. (File, AP)

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The murder case of former Rwandan Intelligence head, Colonel Patrick Karegeya, has been referred back to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to decide whether they will prosecute those suspected of being responsible for his death.

This comes after the Magistrate Mashiyane Mathopa in his judgment in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on January 21 struck the matter off the roll and gave the South African Police Service (SAPS) two weeks to submit what actions were taken, from January 2014, to bring the known suspects to book in the murder of the former Rwandan head of intelligence.

ALSO READ: Murder of ex-Rwandan intelligence head struck off the roll due to insufficient evidence

Karegeya sought asylum in South Africa in 2008 after he had a fallout with the Rwandan government and set up an opposition movement called the Rwandan National Congress.

He was found dead in a hotel room at Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, Johannesburg in 2013, News24 earlier reported.

The inquest into the murder of Karegeya was previously set aside after AfriForum's private prosecutor, Advocate Gerrie Nel, on behalf of Karegeya family brought forward an application arguing that the inquest was "an abuse of process" and a means for the police and the NPA to cover up their inaction because an investigation which already identified the suspects had already taken place.

"The informal inquest determined that the identity of the deceased and the cause and date of death are known, also that Karegeya’s death was brought about by an act amounting to an offence.

"The NPA could therefore have started to take steps to prosecute on the grounds of the evidence at their disposal in 2014," Lobby group Afriforum said in a statement on Thursday.

A statement by the investigating officer in the matter further indicates that no steps were taken as the relationship between South Africa and Rwanda played a role in the decision to track down the suspects, the lobby group added.

ALSO READ: Mysterious murder of Rwanda ex-spy chief: NPA's probe an abuse of process, says AfriForum

Nel is of the view that the court's decision is a sign that South Africa is not a haven for "assassins with political connections".

"The court's decision sends a message to the police and NPA that they cannot fail to prosecute criminals simply because these criminals have political connections.

"We hope that the NPA will now fulfil [its] legal responsibility and prosecute these suspects to the full extent of the law. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit will attentively monitor the process and the progress thereof and will apply for a nolle prosequi certificate if the NPA once again fails to pursue justice," Nel concluded.

Read more on:    npa  |  courts
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