Emotions too much for Moss in Cwele case

2010-10-13 00:00

THE drug trafficking trial of Sheryl Cwele and Frank Nabolisa was put on hold yesterday because key state witness, Charmaine Moss, was in a “poor emotional state”.

State advocate Ian Cooke told high court Judge Piet Koen he was approached by Moss’s friend early yesterday and told that Moss was not in a fit state to continue testifying.

“She was visibly shaken when I spoke to her,” Cooke said.

Advocates Mvuseni Ngubane, for Cwele, and Koos van Vuuren, for Nabolisa, did not object.

Moss is the first witness to give evidence in the high-profile trial in which Cwele, the wife of Safety and Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, and Nabolisa, a Nigerian, are charged with dealing in cocaine and of inciting Moss and Tessa Beetge (both of the South Coast) to deal in drugs.

Beetge is serving an eight-year jail sentence after being arrested with cocaine in her luggage at Sao Paulo airport, Brazil, on June 13, 2008.

Moss testified that Cwele arranged for her to work overseas through an agency in which Nabolisa, whom Cwele described as her “brother”, was a partner.

Nabolisa paid for flights and finalised arrangements for her to fly to Turkey, but she had pulled out after an incident where he told her she was asking too many questions and slapped her on her mouth.

Moss said Cwele told her the job was “nothing serious” and she only had to bring a parcel back for Nabolisa, but she refused and returned home. She never saw any parcel.

During cross-examination on Monday, Ngubane suggested to Moss that hers was a “made-up story” and that she had “jumped on the bandwagon” following media reports about what had happened to Beetge and claims that Cwele was linked to the drugs found in Beetge’s luggage.

Moss replied, “I read the stories in the papers, but long before that I had come back from Johannesburg ... I was contacted by the police after all the stories in the media.”

Ngubane also queried why Moss — who was a policewoman from 1979 to 1986 — didn’t charge Nabolisa for having slapped her. Moss replied that she had just wanted it all to “be over”.

“It wasn’t as if he knocked out my teeth,” she said.

Asked why she never contacted Cwele to complain about Nabolisa’s treatment of her, Moss said she had met a private investigator she knew (Johan Strydom) at the airport and told him what happened.

“He said I mustn’t speak to anyone about it as they were also busy with an investigation. He knew the police who were investigating the matter.”

* The pace of the trial has been slowed down by the necessity for evidence to be translated into four

languages - isiZulu, Ibo (Nigerian), English and Afrikaans. Every question and answer is being translated as Moss testifies in her home language, Afrikaans.

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