Well-again Selebi still hasn’t paid legal fees

2013-10-08 00:00

THREE-AND-A-HALF years after he was found guilty, Jackie Selebi has not yet paid his legal fees for his drawn-out court case.

Selebi owes the South African Police Service (SAPS) more than R17,4 million.

Spokesperson for the Department of Justice Mthunzi Mhaga referred queries on this debt to the police.

“The Department of Justice only handles the legal team, not the cost,” he said.

One high-placed source in the SAPS yesterday told sister paper Beeld Selebi’s debt to the police had not yet been tallied up in the three years since Selebi’s guilty verdict. He said it was a complex process, as there were several complaints and costs.

Selebi was found guilty of corruption in 2010 and was sentenced to a 15-year jail term. He was released on medical parole in June 2012 for irreversible, end-stage kidney failure, high blood pressure and diabetes.

This past weekend, Selebi was photographed in Pretoria, seemingly in good health, as he was chauffeured in a six-series BMW to buy the Sunday papers.

FF+ MP Pieter Groenewald said Selebi was leading a life of luxury while he owed the taxpayer millions.

“This debt is long overdue and must be paid back with interest. If he can’t pay it, he must be declared insolvent and his assets must be seized.”

Meanwhile, Teboho Mokoena, deputy chief commissioner of Correctional Services, yesterday said even if Selebi’s health recovered 100%, he would not have to return to jail.

He said new legislation that was approved in 2012 forbids the department from getting another medical investigation done on a prisoner who is on parole. The only way that Selebi could go back to prison was if he violated his parole conditions.

Mokoena said Selebi is a model parolee.

Mokoena said since the new act on medical parole was approved in March 2012, 56 prisoners had been released on medical parole, including Selebi, while 164 applications were rejected.

“There is no record that any of the rejected applicants had died in the interim,” he said.

DA MP James Selfe said it was amazing that Selebi had recovered so well from his near-terminal illnesses.

He said shortly before Selebi’s release, Correctional Services had declared to the relevant portfolio committee that Selebi’s life expectation was limited.

Selfe said legislation was clear that people who had been released on medical parole could not be sent back to prison if they became healthy again.

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