Granting indemnity to criminals was a gamble – Pikoli

2009-11-18 07:23

FORMER National Prosecuting Authority head, Vusi Pikoli has

admitted in court that granting possible indemnity to criminals in exchange for

testimony against Jackie Selebi was a gamble.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Jaap Cilliers asked Pikoli

how he, as National Director of Public Prosecutions, could grant indemnity to

criminals such as security consultants Paul Stemmet and Clinton Nassif.

“We knew that flank we would be getting, but we felt we were in a

position to get all allegations against Selebi corroborated. If this was true,

it was a risk or gamble worth taking,” said Pikoli.

Cilliers told the court that Stemmet had allegedly admitted to

planting a bomb at Microsoft’s offices to ensure they did not decrease their

security budget.

And that Nassif, who was head of slain mining magnate Brett

Kebble’s security, apparently hired hitmen to shoot dead Kebble in his car in

Melrose, Johannesburg on the night of September 27 2005.

“To me all criminals are the same but not everyone who commits

crime gets to go to jail. Our constitution has sections which allows for that,”

said Pikoli.

Pikoli said the seriousness of the allegations against Selebi

warranted the indemnity agreements reached with witnesses.

“The whole question was as a country, given the high rate of crime

in the country, we cannot afford to have a national commissioner of police who

is alleged to be involved in the commission of serious crime. It’s a serious

matter. You need to use criminals against criminals,” said Pikoli.

Cilliers retorted: “Speeches won’t assist, Mr Pikoli.”

Cilliers also put it to Pikoli that since he was married in

community of property it meant that he also benefited from the Kebbles through

his wife’s shares.

“Yes. What belongs to her belongs to me. And what belongs to me

belongs to her,” said Pikoli.

The trial has been postponed to Thursday.

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