Account of the fall of SA’s top cop is an investment

2011-01-26 00:00

FINISH & Klaar is a well-documented unfolding of events leading to the fall of South Africa’s ex-top cop and Interpol president Jackie Selebi.

Author Adriaan Basson, an associate partner at the Mail & Guardian Center for Investigative Journalism, followed the case very closely.

Arrogant and thinking that he was above the law, even before the initial stages of the corruption case, Selebi had tirelessly told the South African public that what he got from Glen Agliotti, a convicted drug trafficker, were gifts from a friend, “finish and klaar”.

Political pressure and all sorts of underhand techniques came into play in a bid to protect Selebi from the media and prosecution on the one hand, while the zeal to win pushed journalists to expose what a fraud the commissioner and his cohorts were on the other.

The book details the link between the brutal killing of mining magnate Brett Kebble and Selebi, and the latter’s friendship with Agliotti.

During Selebi’s tenure at the helm of the country’s crime prevention institution, up until the time he was charged with corruption, huge amounts of money exchanged hands and gifts poured in, with the police chief being the recipient. The whole investigation against Selebi was pushed forward by Paul O’Sullivan, the Irish-born former head of security at OR Tambo International airport, who was dismissed from duty on what he believed was Selebi’s doing. O’Sullivan is said to have played a pivotal role in bringing forth witnesses and evidence for the then Scorpions against Selebi.

Despite all this, Selebi maintained his innocence although he had lied about a number of things, including cash receipts to prove what he had spent his money on. This was to disprove claims that he had received huge bribes from Agliotti.

When asked to bring the receipts, he had failed to do so, claiming his wife had shredded and discarded them. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel and Judge Meyer Joffee were astonished by this as it proved that the former top cop was not a reliable witness and had no credibility.

The book gets a thumbs up and getting a copy is an investment.

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