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UPDATE: Chief Justice burglary ... the mystery of Nkosinathi Msimango

Police are searching for a man who they believe is a crucial link in their investigation into the theft of 15 computer hard drives from the office of the Chief Justice.

Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane on Wednesday called on a man named Nkosinathi Msimango to come forward.

Msimango is believed to be from Mamelodi‚ a township east of Pretoria‚ where the men were arrested at a house on Monday and Tuesday. The suspects are set to appear in court today in connection with the theft.

Phahlane declined to elaborate on what the suspects had been charged with or their exact role in the theft.

Over the weekend‚ an unknown number of people broke into the office of the Chief Justice in Midrand‚ Johannesburg‚ and stole computers‚ said to contain highly personal details relating to scores of judges across the country.

The theft followed two damning judgments handed down on Friday against social development minister Bathabile Dlamini and police minister Nathi Nhleko.

A specialised police task team was established to investigate the theft and arrested the three men on Monday and Tuesday.

Phahlane said that during the arrests various items‚ including unlicensed firearms‚ fake identity documents and the suspected getaway car were recovered.

“During interviews with the suspects‚ the identity of a person with critical information required to solve the crime and recover the [computer] equipment was identified.”

Phahlane said that Msimango‚ who he said was in the Mamelodi area on the days of the arrests‚ had valuable information for investigators.

“We believe he can provide insight into the crime.”

He declined to elaborate on who Msimango was or what role he may have had in the theft.

“Let’s just say he is very crucial to this investigation.” He said more arrests were expected.

Phahlane said police had sanctioned a security assessment of the Chief Justice’s office.

It is unknown why the assessment is only being done now‚ given that the current offices have been occupied for more than a year.

Nathi Mncube‚ spokesman for the Chief Justice‚ said the progress of the police investigation was encouraging.

Pushed on what information was contained on the computers‚ he declined to elaborate.

He also declined to comment on why it had taken a year to have security assessments done on the Chief Justice’s current offices.

“In our view‚ we felt that there was sufficient security. We are‚ however‚ open to [security] suggestions from the police.”

Mncube said the Chief Justice’s office was in contact with the country’s different judge presidents.

“At this point in time there is no indication that anyone is at risk.”

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