Sarcasm, outbursts at Selebi trial

2010-04-19 21:42

Johannesburg - Day two of Jackie Selebi's cross-examination was characterised by sarcasm, dramatic outbursts and accusations that the NPA had orchestrated a media campaign against the former police chief.

Under cross-examination in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday, Selebi accused prosecutor Gerrie Nel of conducting a smear campaign through the media.

The claim resembles the one Selebi made back in 2006 when details of his dealings with underground characters first made headlines.

"My Lord, the media campaign... its source (referring to prosecutor Gerrie Nel) is the one asking me questions."

Nel was cross-examining him regarding the August 2003 video Selebi allegedly showed former NPA boss Vusi Pikoli to try and have the charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice against him dropped.


The video was of a meeting between convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti and crime intelligence head Mulangi Mphego.

In the video, Mphego questions Agliotti about another recording in which Agliotti links Selebi to the payment of R1.2m.

Agliotti had also made allegations that the Scorpions wanted Selebi's head.

"Why did you show the video to Pikoli... you showed Pikoli the video just because of the mention of R1.2m?" Nel asked.

Selebi responded: "No. He also said Jackie Selebi organised a R1m party (to celebrate his appointment as Interpol president)".

The former police commissioner also admitted to showing the videos to former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy as a means of telling him that he was "wasting your time... and your people are wasting their time by investigating me".

On another occasion during cross-examination, a visibly irritated Nel placed it on the record that Selebi was not answering his questions.

"For record purposes, you (Selebi) are not answering... standing hands on hips, staring at me."


Nel had wanted to know why a police reservist, Paul Stemmet, was also being paid as a police informer when Selebi had told the court he had had a problem with Paul O'Sullivan being both a reservist and the head of security at the OR Tambo International airport.

"They (police) needed cover for him and the way to do it was to register him as a reservist," said Selebi.

When Nel asked how registering somebody as a police reservist could be used as cover, Selebi took out a thick file and started reading from it.

His explanation was that he had been "challenged on Friday to prove" his statements and that the material on the file was merely to prove his point.

Nel would have none of it and continued to probe Selebi on the Stemmet issue.

Stemmet, a registered police informant, worked closely with Agliotti to supply police with information for which he was paid.

Selebi explained that, O'Sullivan was removed from the police informant list because he was Irish. Stemmet was South African.

When Nel asked if this was the reason Selebi had a problem with him being a police reservist, Selebi kept quiet.

Selebi's brother interrupts

His brother George Selebi then shouted: "He can't answer."

Selebi's brother had been pacing the courtroom gesturing with his hands, walking towards the exit as if to walk out, then walking back in to go and sit with other family members, including Selebi's wife.

Judge Meyer Joffe order Selebi's counsel Jaap Cilliers to "deal with him".

"Is he part of the Selebi camp? I need you to deal with him. I'm not going to have his comments or interjections in court," said Joffe.

At that stage, Cilliers was not sure if he was a family member and followed him outside the court with Selebi and other family members for a brief meeting. Selebi's brother was allowed to remain in the court.

However, he could not sit still and shook his head every time Nel questioned Selebi.

Selebi faces a count of corruption and another of defeating the ends of justice in connection with at least R1.2m he allegedly received from Agliotti and others in return for favours.

The trial continues on Tuesday.