Judge allows intercepted calls in Cwele case

2010-12-13 09:27

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Piet Koene has ruled that intercepted phone calls were admissible as evidence in the drug trafficking case involving the state security minister’s wife.

In October lawyers representing Sheryl Cwele, the wife of Minister Siyabonga Cwele, and her co-accused Frank Nabolisa objected to the use of transcripts of intercepted calls.

Koene said intercepted calls from two cellphone numbers were admissible.

The police recorded phone calls between Cwele, Nabolisa and convicted drug mule Tessa Beetge.

Today’s ruling meant the State could use transcripts of the calls as evidence against the pair.

Advocates representing Cwele and Nabolisa said the act under which the interception of the calls was authorised did not cover cellphones.

They had further argued the interception was not authorised by a designated judge.

It would “trample” the accused’s privacy.

The state believed the calls would present a detailed picture of what transpired between Cwele, Nabolisa and Beetge.

Beetge was arrested after 10kg of cocaine was found in her luggage in Brazil in 2008.

Cwele and Nigerian national Nabolisa allegedly conspired to recruit Beetge and Charmaine Moss as drug mules.

Moss previously told the court she turned down an offer of going to work overseas when she suspected something was amiss.

Beetge is serving an eight-year jail sentence in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The directive to monitor calls was granted by Judge J Swart on March 20, 2008. It covers the period April 29 to June 16, 2008.

It was obtained to intercept calls to Nabolisa and others.

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