South African authorities have been accused of trying to “cover up” the truth on the killing of Rwanda’s former external intelligence chief Col Patrick Karegeya in a Sandton hotel over five years ago.
Lawyer Gerrie Nel asked a Randburg magistrate on Wednesday to stop the judicial inquest into Karegeya’s death. Nel said the police and the National Prosecuting Authority had been sitting on enough evidence to prosecute Karegeya’s suspected killers for five years but had “inexplicably” not done so.
As for The Guardian, he suggested the inquest was a delaying tactic to avoid prosecuting the four Rwandans suspected of strangling Karegeya.
The long-delayed inquest was supposed to start on Wednesday. But before it could get underway, Nel asked Magistrate Jeremiah Matopa to cancel the inquest so the four murder suspects, all Rwandans, could be prosecuted immediately and extradited.
He said the inquest was superfluous because the police had known, for the past five years, everything that an inquest was supposed to establish. They knew who was killed, how he was killed, when he was killed and by whom, Nel said, naming the four suspects.
“We, however, regard this judicial inquest as an abuse of legal proceedings, as well as the ‘cover-up’ of an abhorrent crime, which resulted from the NPA’s unwillingness or prohibition to prosecute and/or to direct an in-depth and proficient investigation. A judicial inquest is not the suitable legal route in this case and the NPA’s decision (not to prosecute) is inexplicable based on the contents of the docket.”
“This is a cover-up to disguise an inability to and/ or prohibition to deal with an assassination,” Nel said, adding that the delay of five years led to “the irresistible inference of political meddling or a prohibition to proficiently investigate the identified perpetrators.”
The late Col Karegeya fled Rwanda to South Africa in 2007.He was found strangled to death in the Michelangelo Hotel on 1 January, 2014. Police believe had been murdered the day before.
As of now, the prime suspects in Karegeya’ death are Appollo Ismael Kiririsi, Alex Sugira, Samuel Niyoyita and Nshizrungu Vianney.