Cheerful Selebi makes his first court appearance

2008-02-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi was charged on three counts of corruption and one of defeating the ends of justice in the Randburg Regional Court yesterday.

He also faces an alternate charge of receiving an unauthorised gratification “by a person who is party to an employment relationship”.

Selebi was not asked to plead, and the charges were not formally put to him, but his lawyer Jaap Cilliers said he intends pleading not guilty when the case resumes on June 26.

Last month, Selebi was placed on special leave and resigned as head of Interpol when news of the charges broke.

Arriving at the court through a side entrance, Selebi, wearing a grey suit and pink tie, waved and said: “I’m doing alright”.

Inside the court, he waved and gave a thumbs up, saying: “Hi, how are you? Are you okay? I’m okay!”, and playfully asked if he could have a cushion as he sat in the dock.

According to the indictment, the charges include receiving money to cancel an arrest warrant for mining entrepreneur Billy Rautenbach, a “fugitive of justice living in Zimbabwe”.

Rautenbach requested that Glenn Agliotti — a police informer according to the indictment, and now a co-accused in the murder investigation of mining entrepreneur Brett Kebble — intervene on his behalf regarding an arrest warrant he had in South Africa.

Agliotti was also recently convicted of drug trafficking.

“Agliotti discussed Rautenbach’s request with the accused and later indicated a willingness to assist,” the indictment read.

Rautenbach made U.S.$40 000 available for Selebi to have the warrant cancelled and “of this amount U.S.$30 000 was paid over to the accused, by Agliotti”.

It continues that an amount of R30 000 was requested by Selebi and given to him by Agliotti “on or around” September 27, 2005.

The charge sheet says this was a “day or two” after the death of Kebble, who was shot dead on September 27 in Melrose, Johannesburg.

The state alleges that Agliotti, Kebble, Rautenbach and other “relevant corporate entities” benefited from Selebi between January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2005.

The figure given was an amount of “at least” R1,2 million.

“This was by way of payments by Agliotti on his own account on behalf of Rautenbach, the Kebbles and others.”

The state believes the payments make no sense as neither of them had legitimate business dealings with Selebi or the police.

It alleges the payments and benefits — which allegedly also include medical expenses for Selebi’s son, clothing and handbags for Selebi, his wife and girlfriend and his children — were benefits that were “not legally due to the accused”.

He allegedly also took no action against Agliotti, who may have been involved in a drug smuggling case in which police seized Mandrax worth R105 million and arrested five people.

“The accused took no action against Agliotti and in fact the matter was later withdrawn and people arrested for dealing in drugs were subsequently released and have never been prosecuted.”

Selebi allegedly authorised a R500 000 payment to Paul Stemmet, a businessman and police reservist, “based on incorrect and false information”.

Selebi is accused of discussing a number of drug smuggling investigations with Agliotti, who was implicated.

Selebi also allegedly gave Agliotti access to a top secret file.

In August/September 2004, Selebi was allegedly given R30 000 by Agliotti to fund a dinner on his election as Interpol head, and he also allegedly asked the police to treat a housebreaking scene of friends of Agliotti with “great care and attention”, on the request of Agliotti.

Tracing the history of their relationship, the charge sheet said that Selebi and Agliotti were “close friends” and Kebble and Stratton had decided to exploit it to their advantage.

Selebi and Agliotti met when Selebi was social welfare representative of the African National Congress and Agliotti had wanted to enter into a business deal with the ANC.

Agliotti was appointed as a police informer with Selebi’s knowledge in February 2002.

Meanwhile, Selebi would phone Agliotti for money whenever he needed it.

Accounts were eventually set up to facilitate the payments and it was agreed that U.S.$1 million would be made available to conduct investigations and to buy Selebi’s favour.

Selebi was never arrested, so there was no bail application yesterday but the judge warned Selebi not to interfere with the 30 witnesses and to return to the court on June 26.

In the meantime, Selebi has also launched an application in the Pretoria High Court to have the investigation against him stopped.

That matter is due to return to court on April 10.

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