Police Commissioner in South Africa sent into an extended leave to face charges


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Nov 3, 2007
National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi has been given an extended leave of absence, President Thabo Mbeki said on Saturday.

Speaking at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Mbeki said Selebi has requested the leave himself.

Mbeki has appointed Timothy Charles Williams, Deputy National Commissioner responsible for Crime Intelligence and Detection, as the acting National Commissioner of Police.

Mbeki said he held a meeting with the top brass of the SA Police Service on Saturday morning stressing the importance that the police should continue its work.

"It was important that police should continue with its work as normal," Mbeki said.

On Friday the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said they were ready to charge Selebi with corruption and defeating the course of justice.

"The law should take its course," Mbeki said. - Sapa
The dirt on Selebi

Convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti gave top cop Jackie Selebi at least R1,2-million, says the Scorpions' 23-page indictment against the national police commissioner.

Selebi will stand trial for corruption and defeating the ends of justice, or attempting to do so.

And his hopes of avoiding the dock were dealt a blow on Friday after a Pretoria High Court judge dismissed his application to urgently halt the Scorpions' investigation against him.

After reading the verdict of a panel set up to review the Selebi case, acting Judge Nico Coetzee said it appeared the elite crime-fighting unit had a prima facie case.

In an affidavit before the court, acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe stated under oath that: "The NPA has decided to charge Selebi with corruption and defeating the course of justice, or attempting to do so and that … the indictment against Selebi will be served on him shortly."

But Selebi will not suffer the embarrassment of a public arrest.

Mpshe said: "(Selebi) faces no imminent prospect of arrest … I have undertaken that if he is to be charged, he will not be arrested and an arrangement will be reached with his attorney for a date on which he is to appear in court."

In their indictment, made public for the first time, the Scorpions disclosed their evidence against Selebi and accused him of receiving at least R1,2m from Agliotti over a year and a half, starting in 2004. Selebi is further accused of receiving money from slain mining magnate Brett Kebble.

According to Mpshe, the case against Selebi includes:

# A long-standing, "generally corrupt relationship" between Selebi and Agliotti that began in the 1990s and allegedly turned criminal when Agliotti paid R1 000 to cover the top cop's medical bills. Agliotti also bought Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags for Selebi's wife, Ann, and girlfriend Ntombi, purchased Fubu clothing for his two young sons, and paid R10 000 for one of his children's birthday parties.

# Agliotti was a go-between for Selebi and Kebble and his former business associate John Stratton - an Australian businessman who has since been named as one of the magnate's murder masterminds.

# Selebi "turned a blind eye" to evidence that Agliotti had been involved in the transportation of Mandrax with a street value of R105m seized by police.

# In return for a payment of $30 000 (about R203 000), Selebi allegedly intervened to try to get now-suspended NPA head Vusi Pikoli to cancel a warrant for the arrest of international fugitive Billy Rautenbach.

# Selebi allegedly slipped Agliotti confidential intelligence reports from British authorities relating to his suspected drug-trafficking activities.

# Selebi tipped off Agliotti that his cellphone number had been identified in the course of the Kebble murder investigation.

Mpshe said the Scorpions had confirmed the alleged payments from Agliotti to Selebi, based on bank records and cheque statements.

He said Selebi's "bald claim" that there was no basis for his prosecution was not "only self-serving but also entirely speculative".

"The charges against him are based on a strong prima facie case supported by the testimony of a range of witnesses and corroborated by real evidence."

Witnesses include Pikoli and Agliotti's former girlfriend and secretary Dianne Muller, who told the Scorpions she personally counted the cash that Agliotti gave to Selebi.

Agliotti has done another sensational turnabout. On January 4, he gave a sworn statement to police saying the Scorpions were targeting him as a high-profile case to ensure their survival. He said the Scorpions had forced him to make incriminating statements against Selebi.

Now, in a statement made on Thursday, Agliotti claims he was drunk when the police took him to a secret meeting at a hotel and tricked him into signing a statement he had not even read.

NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali on Friday said prosecutors would not act against Selebi until the progress of his application had been determined.

Mpshe's assurance that Selebi would not be publicly arrested is in stark contrast to this week's arrest of Gerrie Nel, the top Scorpions prosecutor leading the Selebi probe.

Nel was handcuffed in front of his family, forced to change his clothes with police officers standing over him, and was detained in a holding cell for 19 hours.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Argus on January 12, 2008
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