Selebi waits to learn his fate

2010-06-10 15:46

Judgment in the Jackie Selebi corruption trial will be delivered on July 1, Judge Meyer Joffe told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.

His announcement followed intense three-day closing arguments by the State and the defence, which focused mainly on whether the State had proven its case against the former top cop and the credibility of evidence given by Selebi and Glenn Agliotti.

While State prosecutor Gerrie Nel maintained the State had proven Selebi's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, defence counsel Jaap Cilliers sought to cast doubt on evidence led by Agliotti, the State's star witness.

Nel, who started his arguments on Monday morning, said Selebi was an "arrogant and disrespectful person" who "adapted his evidence in relation to the State's case".

Although Selebi had ensured that no paper trail existed of financial kickbacks he received from Agliotti and the Kebble mining family, the State had nevertheless proven his guilt, said Nel.

"The accused, a policeman with a definite appreciation that he could be the target of many a shrewd corrupter, ensured that his own bank account did not reveal transactions regarding unexplained money (and) would not deposit unexplained money into his account."

Excess cash

"We argue that the State has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused defeated and/or obstructed the administration of justice. The State has proven the accused's guilt on count two (defeating the ends of justice) beyond any doubt," Nel said.

He said Selebi failed to explain to the court how he had "excess cash", which was mainly in US dollars. The money, Nel said, had been "dollars received from Agliotti".

"Unfortunately for the accused, his secretary Eunice Grove could not assist him in explaining why he would buy €1 490 to the value of R13 064 on an advance of R8 537.17 for the trip to France in 2005," Nel said.

Selebi told the court last month that the currency he exchanged had been allowance money he received for his overseas trips for Interpol engagements. He said he never spent the money excessively, enabling him to change it into rands on his return to the country.

"Selebi also lied to the court regarding a 2005 draft National Intelligence Estimate report, which he said he had declassified so he could show it to Agliotti."

"If the accused was a bad witness regarding his finances, he was nothing but a lying witness with regard to the circumstances surrounding (declassified document) H2.

"H2 and H5 (H2's original) had differing letter type and font. The logo was not displayed on H5 while the entire logo appeared on the 'copy'. H2 is clearly not a copy of H5."

Nel said Selebi's reasons for declassifying the document were "unconvincing... in fact, disingenuous". By showing Agliotti State documents, Selebi defeated the ends of justice.

'False allegations'

However, in counter argument, Cilliers tore apart evidence led by Agliotti, saying the State had based its entire case on an "unscrupulous, dangerous man" and "false allegations against Selebi".

"The State has made a choice to present Agliotti's evidence as the core of their case. His evidence should be evaluated with caution. Mr Agliotti is a very dangerous man. He's unscrupulous... The truth, the oath, doesn't mean anything to him. He'll say anything for things to go his way."

"What makes him even more dangerous is that he's intelligent so he can manipulate situations... evidence. He was confronted with this situation; either go to jail or implicate the accused (Selebi)," Cilliers said.

Describing the State's case as "completely unreliable and not credible", Cilliers said the State had "blackmailed Agliotti" to make up a case against Selebi. This was done after Selebi voiced his opinion about the disbanding of the now defunct Scorpions, also known as the Directorate for Special Operations (DSO).

"The DSO targeted Agliotti, making him... look as bad as possible in order to bring down Selebi. The fact that Agliotti himself stated in the DVD recording (presented in court), that members of the DSO blackmailed and intimidated him to take a deal to give incriminating evidence against the accused."

"We submit that the State has not proved its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt and that the accused is entitled to his acquittal on all charges," said Cilliers.

Selebi faced a charge of corruption relating to up to R1.2m he allegedly received from various people in return for favours, as well as a charge of defeating the ends of justice. The latter related to classified documents he allegedly showed Agliotti to shield him from prosecution.

He had pleaded not guilty to both charges.