Mean Menzi

2010-05-16 10:45

Menzi Simelane has stripped former Gauteng head of the defunct

Scorpions and senior prosecutor Gerrie Nel and his team of the super-flashy

black 4X4s they were using in investigating high-profile cases.

Nel and his team now have to use their own cars or hire smaller

ones to come to the South Gauteng High Court for the corruption trial of former

police commissioner Jackie Selebi. Simelane has removed Nel’s team from other

high-profile and ­politically sensitive prosecutions.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) sources say Simelane is now

using the confiscated bling wheels.

Nel and his team drove four super-fast diamond-black Jeep Cherokee

SRT8s and a Chrysler Voyager that left growling exhaust sounds as they sped off

after each court appearance of high-profile individuals.

On Wednesday two of the cars – a Jeep and a Chrysler – were cooling

down in a shaded parking lot at the NPA’s headquarters in Silverton, east of

Pretoria.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga would not comment on the

confiscation of the cars.

In the past weeks Simelane has been criticised over his

restructuring plans for the NPA.

On Thursday, President Jacob ­Zuma told parliamentarians that

Simelane’s plans would not go ahead because “the interests of the country and

the Constitution” had to be put first.

On Friday, Simelane said most ­officials supported his planned

restructuring but he agreed to suspend the process until his political boss,

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, had ­approved the plans.

The proposed

restructuring will see units like the Asset Forfeiture Unit and Specialised

Commercial Crimes Unit disbanded and their members redeployed within the NPA and

reporting to provincial ­directors of public prosecutions.

The vehicles that Nel and his team used were bought in 2006 when

the team started working on Project Bad Guys – an investigation into the

criminal underworld’s involvement in the killing of mining magnate Brett Kebble

and Selebi’s ties to known drug dealers.

Current and former NPA staffers said the vehicles were not part of

pool cars and were exclusively reserved for Nel and his team.

An official said the team was seen as being superior to other

members of the Scorpions because they had their own cars and by removing them

Simelane was seen to be limiting their powers and making them equal among

peers.

Simelane has also removed the team from prosecuting all Project Bad

Guys cases except for the Selebi trial.

New prosecution teams have been assigned to Kebble’s murder case in

which drug dealer Glenn Agliotti – who testified in Selebi’s trial – is the only

accused.

The team has also been taken off the case against former crime

intelligence head Mulangi Mphego for defeating the ends of justice by allegedly

obtaining an affidavit from Agliotti clearing Selebi of any wrongdoing.

The case was thrown out of court this week after the new

prosecutors failed to meet deadlines to oppose Mphego’s application for a

permanent stay of prosecution.


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