It’s not over — Selebi

2010-08-04 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — “I have been expecting this since day one,” Jackie Selebi said yesterday about his 15-year prison sentence for corruption.

He added: “The case is far from over.”

His brother, Suleiman Selebi, said outside the South Gauteng High Court after sentencing that Judge Meyer Joffe is an “apartheid judge” who found his brother guilty in an “apartheid court” according to the “imperial West’s” Roman-Dutch legal system, which “should not be allowed in this country any more”.

Outlining his reasons for imposing the prescribed minimum sentence for corruption by a police officer, Joffe called Selebi “an embarrassment” to the force and the country.

Apart from shaking his head and blinking when Joffe made his pronouncement, Selebi appeared unperturbed.

“Nothing, nothing, nothing,” was all he would say when asked for comment.

His sentencing drew a large crowd outside the court. People were clinging to the court railings to see the former Interpol president whose defence counsel, Jaap Cilliers, on Monday said his client had been “degraded” in a way that was “mind-boggling”, as he argued for a lenient sentence. He called Selebi’s downfall “one of the greatest falls in our legal history”.

Selebi’s sentence related to his relationship with convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti from whom he received money and a gift, the court found.

Ironically Agliotti was on trial in the court next door for allegedly murdering mining boss Brett Kebble.

Agliotti had no comment on the sentence.

Joffe said that when Selebi took office he was aware of the illustrious position he held and that people looked up to him.

“He was aware of the high honour that had been bestowed on him as the commander of the SA Police Services,” said Joffe.

“Those you commanded looked up to you with respect... and the citizens of this country also looked up to your exalted office.”

He said Selebi had shown a “flagrant mendacity” and was an embarrassment to the office he occupied, those who appointed him and the police he led.

They were all entitled to expect more from the national commissioner of police.

His behaviour in court, where he had shown no remorse, and had at times manufactured evidence, was “incomprehensible” and “beyond understanding”.

Joffe found that Agliotti had sought Selebi out and gave him money and a gift, but Selebi, an adult occupying high office, should have said no to Agliotti.

“Just as would have been expected by a constable earning a fraction of what he earned.”

Joffe said he found no compelling circumstances and rejected Cilliers’s contention that the state had suffered no prejudice. He found instead that it had caused “substantial damage” to South Africa and to the police.

Outside the court, former airports security contractor Paul O’Sullivan, who believed Selebi was instrumental in having contracts taken away from him, and who was mentioned several times during Joffe’s summing up, said the sentence represented a turning point for the police.

Mr Selebi, you are an embarrassment to the office you occupied. You are an embarrassment to the people who appointed you. You are an embarrassment to your fellow police officers. Judge Meyer Joffe

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