It doesn't take 'rocket science' to know there were efforts to get Selebi off the hook – Willie Hofmeyr

2019-02-12 15:09
Willie Hofmeyr.

Willie Hofmeyr.

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Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Willie Hofmeyr on Tuesday said arriving at the conclusion that there was an effort to get former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi off the hook on charges of corruption wasn't "rocket science".

The cross-examination of Hofmeyr continued before the Mokgoro commission of inquiry in Tshwane on Tuesday.

The commission has been set up to determine the fitness of suspended deputy NDPP Nomgcobo Jiba and suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office.

Acting for Mrwebi, advocate Ally Ramawele, SC, questioned Hofmeyr's earlier "inference" before the commission that Mrwebi had assisted in the arrest of advocate Gerrie Nel in 2008.

This was allegedly to delay Selebi's prosecution, as Hofmeyr had previously testified.

Ramawele wanted to know on what facts Hofmeyr based his assertions that Mrwebi had interfered in the Selebi matter "other than inferences".

"If I recall correctly, he supplied minutes of a DSO (directorate of special operations) meeting to Selebi to aid him in his application for permanent stay of prosecution," Hofmeyr said.

Trumped-up charges

The minutes were also contained in an affidavit Mrwebi filed in support of Selebi.

"I concede that I may have drawn certain conclusions about the intentions behind it, but in practice, that affidavit was used to help Mr Selebi in his efforts to escape justice."

In 2008, Nel was arrested on trumped-up fraud charges while pursuing Selebi.

Delivering testimony to the commission earlier, Hofmeyr said Selebi filed an application for a permanent stay of prosecution while Nel was under arrest.

READ: Mokgoro inquiry: Mrwebi and Jiba allegedly assisted in arrest of Gerrie Nel to delay Selebi prosecution

"One can only surmise that the strategy was to ensure that Nel would be in custody and not available to assist with drafting and opposing the application," Hofmeyr said at the time.

Ramawele asked Hofmeyr whether it was not reasonable to assume that there was some sort of evidence against Nel, since he had been arrested on the authority of a judicial officer. Hofmeyr said that the decision to arrest Nel was later overturned and that a number of prosecutors had refused to pursue the arrest as there were no grounds for it.

Hofmeyr told the commission how he had contacted a number of people following Nel's arrest to attempt to find out where he was being held. Nel was eventually tracked down to the Moot police station where Hofmeyr arranged for legal assistance to have Nel released on bail.

'Are you Nel's defence lawyer?'

"So, were you playing the role of defence lawyer for Mr Nel?" asked Ramawele.

"No," said Hofmeyr. "I was never in court."

Hofmeyr said that Nel was needed in order to prevent the Selebi case from "going away".

He said they were dealing with police refusing to disclose where Nel was being kept. "There was no doubt that there was something sinister behind Nel's arrest," Hofmeyr said.

Hofmeyr said it wasn't "rocket science" to conclude that there was an effort to get Selebi off the hook.

Hofmeyr had earlier alleged that the assistance to delay the prosecution of Selebi came in the form of an affidavit by Jiba, who wanted to settle a "personal score" with Nel.

"She had a grudge against Nel due to the prosecution of her husband.

"Her dislike may have played a part in her role in securing Nel's arrest, but they may have also been political motivations/interference as they were assisting the police," Hofmeyr said.

Selebi was charged with corruption in 2008 and ultimately sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. He died in 2015 after having been released on medical parole in 2013.

The cross-examination of Hofmeyr is set to continue on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Hofmeyr rejects claims of political interference in the dropping of charges against Zuma

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Read more on:    npa  |  nomgcobo ­jiba  |  jackie selebi  |  gerrie nel  |  lawrence mrwebi  |  willie hofmeyr  |  mokgoro inquiry

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