Selebi’s fight back plan

2009-10-10 16:12

FORMER police chief Jackie ­Selebi’s strategy is likely to try to show that his prosecution stemmed from a fraught and corroded relationship with the former head of the National Prosecuting Authority Bulelani Ngcuka.

In 2003, says top-secret police ­intelligence, the two men almost came to blows at Ngcuka’s office in Silverton, Pretoria.

Selebi told the prosecutions chief that alleged mafioso Glenn Agliotti and slain mining magnate Brett ­Kebble’s right-hand man, John Stratton, had gathered com­promising personal information on him.

Former justice minister Penuell Maduna allegedly stopped the ­altercation escalating but he ­denied knowledge of the incident yesterday.

“I am an old man leading a very quiet life. But just to add, we never had a meeting with the two of them to discuss (the now-defunct crime-fighting unit) the Scorpions.

“They are grossly mistaken,” he added.

Ngcuka has also denied the incident, calling it “pure invention”, his spokesperson Sipho Ngwema told City Press yesterday.
Agliotti and Stratton were ­allegedly planning to use the information to blackmail the former prosecutions chief into dropping fraud and tax-dodging charges against ­Kebble and his father ­Roger.

Dirty turf war

The two former comrades, Selebi and Ngcuka, were the commanders of a dirty turf war as the Scorpions and the police skirmished repeatedly. Now, believes Selebi, he is the fall guy.

Selebi has pleaded not guilty to three counts of corruption and one count of defeating the ends of ­justice.

He claimed that the charges were part of plot by Ngcuka and axed prosecutions chief Vusi Pikoli to discredit him because he was intent on ensuring that the National ­Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) ­investigative arm, the Scorpions, merged with the police.

Testifying for the state this week, Agliotti said Selebi believed that Ngcuka and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy were trying to oust him because he wanted to ­dissolve the Scorpions.

At the same meeting, Ngcuka ­allegedly revealed that private ­investigators had told him that ­Selebi had launched an investigation into his affairs with the aim of embarrassing him.

Ngcuka rejected with contempt allegations Selebi levelled in the South Gauteng High Court this week. Ngwema said the accusations were part of a smear campaign to discredit Ngcuka and that if they were true he would have been charged.

Selebi’s strategy to get the charges thrown out and to ­buttress his ­not-guilty plea will centre on the use of a police intelligence ­report to show that:

Ngcuka was involved in selective and malicious prosecution; and
Ngcuka had allegedly held ­exploratory business talks with ­Agliotti on possible mining ­ventures.

Operation Destroy Lucifer

Selebi’s claims in court this week against Ngcuka and that Pikoli’s wife, ­Nozuko Majola-Pikoli, benefited from Kebble’s largesse were ­investigated under the police’s crime intelligence operation called Project Destroy Lucifer. The project was first made public in an unrelated matter in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court in May.

Majola-Pikoli has dismissed ­Selebi’s claim.

The results of the operation could be used in Selebi’s fight for his ­reputation and his future.

As part of the operation, police ­intelligence intercepted conversations between McCarthy and ­Ngcuka, in which they discuss the Selebi case. These intercepts are likely to emerge as evidence.

The transcripts reveal that ­McCarthy appeared to be given ­instructions on the case by Ngcuka, who had left the NPA by the time it made the decision to investigate and subsequently charge Selebi.

The Lucifer investigation further alleged that:

Ngcuka asked Agliotti to look for Chinese nationals interested in mining opportunities in South ­Africa and link them up with him so that he could arrange mining rights for them.

Agliotti testified in court this week that he had a meeting with Ngcuka to “present possible mine opportunities”;

Ngcuka used the influence of his wife, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who was minister of minerals and energy at the time, to solicit mining rights;

Ngcuka, working with mining magnate Mzi Khumalo, tried to buy into Hewa Bowa ­Limited, a mining company in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The company was used by presidents of Zimbabwe and the DRC to spread their mining interests in both countries; and

Selebi is expected to ­reveal Ngcuka’s alleged links with ­Warren Goldblatt, a private investigator with international intelligence connections.

The Lucifer probe suggests that the police believed Goldblatt worked with Khumalo to plot against the Kebbles in the hostile takeover of Durban Roodeport Deep mine.

According to the report, the ­Kebbles believed that Goldblatt provided the intelligence that the Scorpions used to investigate them.

Agliotti said in court that Selebi had obtained information that Ngcuka and McCarthy were involved with foreign intelligence agencies.

Ngwema said Ngcuka had “no ­interests in any business, let alone mining, while he was at the NPA”.

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