I called Agliotti - Selebi

2010-04-16 22:11

Johannesburg - Former police chief Jackie Selebi has admitted talking to convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti soon after mining magnate Brett Kebble's murder in 2005.

"I got information from a journalist that Kebble has been murdered. I then called Glenn and asked if he knew that Kebble has been murdered. He said he didn't know... but called later to say it's true," Selebi told the High Court in Johannesburg.

Testifying under cross examination, Selebi said he had also spoken to Agliotti, accused of murdering Kebble, about a Scorpions investigation implicating him (Selebi) in an international syndicate involved in the smuggling of drugs and corruption.

Agliotti was allegedly the syndicate's kingpin and was referred to as the landlord in National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) papers and media reports.

"Allegations were that I was part of a gang led by the landlord (Agliotti), so the reason I went to him was to ask him if he was the landlord... I asked him and he said no, he wasn't the landlord," said Selebi.

Opposite sides

He then gave Agliotti documents implicating him in the syndicate, not to warn him, but so he could take the papers to his (Agliotti's) lawyers.

While he admitted sharing information with Agliotti, who he described as his friend, Selebi denied influencing NPA boss Vusi Pikoli to quash charges against former fugitive Billy Rautenbach.

Rautenbach, who lives in Zimbabwe, spent almost a decade on the run before entering into a plea-sentence agreement with the NPA on tax evasion charges on September 16 2009, just 16 days before the start of Selebi's trial.

Selebi said he would never have helped or attempted to help Rautenbach, mainly because they had been on opposite sides during the apartheid era.

"I would never have told Pikoli to stop his prosecution because I don't work like that.

"We were on opposite sides during apartheid and in 1995 he [Rautenbach] and some people organised to explode a bomb at an ANC meeting... I was at that meeting, so there's no way I could have tried to help him," he said.

To support his point, Selebi also spoke of a meeting between him, Pikoli and Billy Masetlha at which Pikoli told him he was going to charge President Jacob Zuma.

Liar

"While Masetlha was saying 'no, you can't do that [charge Zuma]' all I said was that 'Pikoli, if you are confident that you have concrete information then you can charge him'. It was not my place to say charge him or don't charge him."

This raised the ire of State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who accused Selebi of creating his own version of events because he was in trouble.

Selebi responded angrily that he had never been in trouble. He told Judge Meyer Joffe that he did not appreciate being called a liar.

"My lord, I take great exception at being called a liar by this man here," he said, pointing at Nel.

Selebi earlier responded sarcastically when Nel tried to confirm whether he had answered yes to a question after he merely nodded his head.

"Be careful of shaking heads, because in Bulgaria, shaking a head like this [up and down] means no and shaking it like this [side to side] means yes... opposite to South Africa. So I might have acted like Bulgarians," said Selebi.

This drew laughter from the public gallery, but irritated Nel who retorted: "Mr Selebi, this is a serious matter. You are not a Bulgarian and you know it."

Nel was expected to complete the cross-examination of Selebi on Monday.

Selebi's counsel Jaap Cilliers is then expected to call deputy police commissioner Andre Pruis.

- SAPA

Read more on:    jackie selebi  |  jackie selebi trial
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