Leremi saw dealer before crashing car

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Mamelodi Sundowns star Gift Leremi spent the last few hours of his life with a drug dealer and a mule before crashing a friend's car.

Police said they were looking for a man they believe could help them in their investigations. The man is allegedly the drug dealer. But Sowetan has learnt that the man has not come forward despite police attempts to make contact with him.

The names of the alleged drug dealer and the mule are known to Sowetan.

A source said Leremi met the drug dealer at a shopping mall. The man later introduced the soccer star to the mule. The three became close friends.

Sowetan yesterday contacted the alleged dealer telephonically with the allegations, but the man hung up the phone. The mule and the dealer attended Leremi's memorial service at the Grace Bible Church on Friday.

Leremi died on Monday last week when the BMW he was driving rolled several times after he lost control.

But yesterday Leremi's family dismissed allegations he had a drug habit, though they admitted he had a drinking problem.

Sowetan has learnt that a few hours after Leremi landed in South Africa from Cameroon where his club Sundowns had been playing in a Confederation Cup competition, he headed for Thokoza to pick up a friend known only as "Tshepo".

A close friend of Leremi's, John Tleyane, yesterday dismissed allegations that Leremi was on drugs. "Gift would never use drugs. He hated them. I discouraged him from taking drugs and he listened to me."

Addressing a memorial service on Friday, Tleyane told mourners he and Leremi had a special relationship.

He said he met the talented midfielder 18 months ago and the two had hit it off. "After 15 minutes of exchanging numbers, he called me. My phone was off and he left a message. I called him back and we spoke for a long time.

"I was with Gift at my house at about 6pm on Monday night until he left. If I knew he was going to die, I would have done something. I was very close to him. Most people always wondered why we had that special relationship," he said.

Tshepo, the last person to see Leremi alive, had since made a statement to the police.

Leremi's family said that Tleyane had not been taking calls from them since his death.

Family spokesman Linda Molotsi said the family was not aware of Leremi being on drugs.

Sowetan has learnt that the BMW which Leremi was driving was the second of Tleyane's cars the soccer star had crashed.

"Please don't write about the other car. I beg you my brother, let's just talk about this car only," Tleyane pleaded yesterday.