'Close links' between Kigali and spy boss murder suspects

Murdered Rwandan spy boss Patrick Karegeya
Murdered Rwandan spy boss Patrick Karegeya
Image: FILE

There were “close links” between the Rwandan government and suspects who allegedly murdered former Rwandan spy boss colonel Patrick Karegeya in Johannesburg in 2013.

“It appears that all the Rwandan suspects left the country in 2014 and returned to Rwanda. Furthermore‚ close links exist between the suspects and the current Rwandan government‚” the Gauteng's public prosecution director wrote in a letter to the Hawks on June 5 2018.

Magistrate Mashiyane Mathopa quoted from the letter on Monday in the Randburg magistrate’s court - where he struck the inquest into Karegeya’s death from the roll.

He said the investigating officer had 14 days to explain‚ among other things:

What steps were taken to arrest the Rwandan suspects since the police knew their whereabouts and identities? What steps were taken after the Gauteng public prosecutions director’s letter on June 5 2018? Karegeya was strangled in his room at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ on December 31 2013.

AFP reported in 2014 that he was close to Rwandan president Paul Kagame for a long time. Karegeya was the head of external intelligence for around a decade before being demoted to army spokesperson. He was later arrested and jailed. He was stripped of the rank of colonel in 2006 and went into exile in 2007.

AfriForum’s advocate Gerrie Nel‚ representing the family‚ argued previously and reiterated on Monday that the judicial inquest had been a “cover-up” resulting from the National Prosecuting Authority’s “unwillingness or prohibition to prosecute and/or to direct an in-depth and proficient investigation”.

Nel said earlier that the lead investigator had identified the suspects as four Rwandan citizens in a statement on January 8 2014 - just over a week after the murder. According to Nel‚ the lead investigator said in a statement that they left South Africa on January 1 2014 and the last witness statement was taken in April 2015.