Police bugged Cwele’s calls

2010-10-20 00:00

INTERCEPTED telephone calls between Sheryl Cwele, Frank Nabolisa, Tessa Beetge and others could be a vital link that the state is seeking to introduce in Cwele and Nabolisa’s trial on drug trafficking charges in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

But defence advocates Mvuseni Ngubane and Koos van Vuuren will contest the admissibility of the evidence and were yesterday granted an opportunity by Judge Piet Koen to prepare for legal argument to be presented tomorrow.

State advocate Ian Cooke told the judge that the state will prepare a complete list of the telephone calls it intends to rely on and will argue that the evidence is admissible.

“They are calls between the two accused and Tessa and other people.

“I submit they will give a detailed picture of what actually went on,” Cooke told the Judge.

He said the police officers who intercepted the conversations had prior authorisation to do so.

Judge Koen said that if argument is presented only tomorrow it seems unlikely the trial will be finalised by the end of the week.

The judge yesterday questioned whether any further consideration has been given to the possibility of obtaining Beetge’s evidence by some means from Brazil where she is imprisoned for smuggling cocaine.

Cooke said he had raised this with the Brazilian police officials who testified on Monday, and they do not believe it will be a problem.

“On a practical level it shouldn’t be difficult. It might be quite easy to do it on Skype,” Cooke said.

However a formal request will have to be made to Brazil via the correct channels, he added.

Another loose end still to be dealt with by the prosecution is the future testimony of state witness, Charmaine Moss.

Moss fell ill before completing her evidence. She was under cross-examination when a doctor diagnosed that she is suffering anxiety disorder, hypertension, panic attacks and insomnia, and declared her unfit to testify before October 29.

Moss was the first witness to testify for the state in the case.

She told the court in 2008 that Cwele recommended her to an agency offering work opportunities overseas, saying she had worked for them “16 or 17 times” in 2005. Cwele described Nabolisa as a “partner” in the agency and referred to him as her “brother”, said Moss.

Moss had been due to fly to Turkey, but opted out after she became nervous and was assaulted by Nabolisa for “asking too many questions”.

Cwele had told her that her job would be to bring a parcel back from Turkey for “Frank”, but she declined.

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