Gulf Daily News » World News » Bribes saga that's like a crime novel Bribes saga that's like a crime novel Posted on » Saturday, July 03, 2010 JOHANNESBURG: The trial of Jackie Selebi - South Africa's first black police chief - has gripped the nation. Sharing the stage in what reads like a John Le Carre novel was a mafia drugs boss, a mining magnate and multi-millionaire Zimbabwean businessman. A witness wept on the stand, there were allegations of money being handed over in brown paper bags and spy games. Intrigue, obfuscation and patronage have characterised the case. In the end though - despite his political links, Selebi has been left crestfallen: guilty of corruption on an obscene scale. At the end of the case, judge Meyer Joffe said: "Every day society in general relies on the honesty and truthfulness of policemen and women... It is not an example that must be emulated by members of the Saps (South African Police Service)." As he points out, this case speaks of so much more than Selebi, a man who helped shape the geopolitics of the new South Africa, being seduced by cash, fine dining and gifts of the latest designer suits. It is about cronyism and the politicisation of South Africa's intelligence services as it confronts the fight against crime. When charges were laid against Selebi, it came at one of the most turbulent times in South African politics. It was 2007 and the power struggle between then-President Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, who was to succeed him, was reaching fever pitch. Selebi enjoyed a close relationship with Mbeki and had thought himself immune from prosecution when questions started emerging about his friendship with Glenn Agliotti - a convicted drug baron. The National Prosecuting Authority, which resisted pressure to back down and endured politically inspired changes of personnel at the top, was against the odds finally able to bring the case to court. Selebi, as head of the police, was among those behind the dismantling of the elite investigation unit known as the Scorpions. He claimed that having an elite body separate from the police would undermine the fight against crime and that its officers colluded with Western intelligence agencies bent on undermining South Africa's sovereignty.And in the long competition, it was the police who won. The Scorpions have now been disbanded and replaced by what many consider a less robust crime fighting team - the Hawks. Adriaan Basson who is writing a book about the Selebi case, has warned President Zuma to take note. "A lot of the people who were protective and loyal to Jackie Selebi are still in the police," warns Basson. Every legal tool was used to try to stall the trial but in the end it proved futile. Joffe concluded there was no evidence of an agreement that Agliotti benefited from his friendship with Selebi - in other words there was no signed contract between them. But Selebi must have known that there is no such thing as a "free lunch", he said. It is a lesson that many are hoping the new South Africa remembers well. Mwisho SO WHAT?: dear jf member, what have you gained from this post and woul like to share with other members in relation to the tanzanian situation? at any rate, you must have something...pse, share with us!