Sheryl Cwele trial resumes

2011-03-08 00:00

SOUTH Coast beautician Charmaine Moss eventually overcame her extreme stress and took the witness stand for less than an hour yesterday to complete her testimony against her former friend, Sheryl Cwele (49), who with Nigerian Frank Nabolisa is alleged to have recruited her in 2008 for the purposes of drug trafficking.

Moss repeated her previous testimony yesterday that Cwele, who is the wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, offered to arrange work for her overseas and told her she would be paid R25 000 for two weeks’ work. She said she expected to work as a “caregiver or in a spa”.

Moss previously testified that she became nervous the day before she was due to fly to Turkey after Nabolisa slapped her and told her she was asking too many questions. She said she abandoned the assignment and opted to return home.

At that stage Cwele allegedly said her job was to bring a parcel back for “Frank”, but she declined.

Moss, who suffered a stress-related breakdown while giving evidence last October and was twice declared medically unfit to continue her testimony, did not look towards the media while she was cross-examined by Cwele’s advocate, Mvuseni Ngubane.

Nabolisa’s advocate, Koos van Vuuren SC, had no questions for Moss.

Moss, a former policewoman who owns a beauty salon, denied that she confided in Cwele that she was in “financial difficulty”. She also disputed Cwele’s version that she had been recruiting her on behalf of Nabolisa, who had businesses overseas.

Moss insisted that the first time she heard Cwele mention Nabolisa’s name was while she was on her way to Johannesburg airport.

She confirmed she did not lay a charge against Nabolisa for assaulting her, but said she told a police officer whom she had “bumped into” at the airport on her way back home what had happened. He told her he knew people who were “investigating” Nabolisa and would ask them to contact her.

Meanwhile, the defence and state have failed to reach agreement over the transcripts of intercepted cellphone calls and SMSes that allegedly passed between Nabolisa, Cwele, imprisoned drug mule Tessa Beetge and others.

The transcripts, which run to more than 200 pages, have not been officially handed in to the court, despite Judge Piet Koen’s ruling that the calls are admissible as evidence.

Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Coertzen of crime intelligence yesterday testified that Nabolisa’s cellphone calls were intercepted because they had information he was involved in drug dealing.

Coertzen and the national co-ordinator for interception and monitoring for the SA Police Force, Colonel Johannes Deetlefs, explained the procedures that are followed to get judicial authority to intercept calls, as well as the method used.

The trial is proceeding in the high court at Ramsgate.

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