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Selebi: I didn't influence Pikoli

2010-04-16 16:44

Johannesburg - Former police chief Jackie Selebi has denied influencing National Prosecuting Authority boss Vusi Pikoli to quash charges against former fugitive Billy Rautenbach.

Testifying under cross examination in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, Selebi said he would never have helped nor attempted to help Rautenbach namely 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.

Selebi also cited a meeting between him, Pikoli and Billy Masetlha at which Pikoli told him he was going to charge President Jacob Zuma.

"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."

Liar

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

Selebi responded angrily, saying he had never been in trouble. He then 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 had earlier responded sarcastically when Nel was trying to confirm if his answer to a question was yes, as he had merely nodded his head.

Responding to this, Selebi drew comparisons between the Bulgarian and South African way of saying yes and no in a non verbal manner.

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

While this drew laughter from the public gallery, Nel was visibly irritated and he angrily told Selebi: "Mr Selebi, this is a serious matter. You are not a Bulgarian and you know it."

Nel was expected to continue cross examining Selebi.