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 Selebi ruling a boost for NPA

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PosOnderwerp: Selebi ruling a boost for NPA   Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:33 pm

2010-04-12 14:11

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Selebi acquittal bid dismissed
Selebi 'had corrupt relationship'
Judgment in Selebi acquittal bid

Johannesburg - NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said on Monday the dismissal of former police boss Jackie Selebi's acquittal bid "is a confirmation that we presented a formidable case against him... which warrants an answer".

The application for Selebi's acquittal on corruption charges was dismissed in the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday.

Judge Meyer Joffe made the pronouncement after Selebi's counsel Jaap Cilliers said he was entitled to an acquittal as the State had failed to prove his guilt.

"I have carefully considered heads of argument by the defence and state... Application for discharge is refused," Joffe said.

Addressing arguments that Selebi did not have a fair trial, Joffe said this constituted a separate application.

"I hold that such an application should not be determined at this stage. If advanced, it will be determined at the end of the trial."

Formidable case

Cilliers, who brought the application before court last Wednesday, intends to now call four witnesses to testify before wrapping up his case. Among them is deputy national police commissioner Andre Pruis.

"We have a serious intention of calling him as a witness... he's only available tomorrow [Tuesday, for consultation]," Cilliers said.

He said he would conclude his case by Thursday next week.

Following Monday's ruling, Selebi turned and smiled at family members, including his wife, seated behind him in Court 4B.

Addressing journalists outside court on Monday, Mhaga said: "It [the ruling] is a confirmation that we presented a formidable case against him... which warrants an answer from him."

Selebi's defence team had argued last week that he was entitled to an acquittal on corruption and defeating the ends of justice charges as the State had failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

"They [the State], through their own witness, destroyed their whole case. We submit that the case starts with false allegations against the accused... and that the State disingenuously made a case without substantiating facts," Cilliers said.

"The witness [Glenn Agliotti] deliberately misled the court... his evidence contradicted the charge sheet. The State's case is completely unreliable."

He said the prosecution failed to prove the existence of a corrupt relationship between Selebi and Agliotti, a convicted drug trafficker whom Cilliers described as "the most unreliable witness to testify in a South African court".

No grounds to discharge State's case

"Agliotti, in his own evidence, said he had applied for various tenders from police but never got any. Isn't that the possible indication that there was no corrupt relationship?"

Cilliers questioned charges of defeating the ends of justice, saying the prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Selebi showed Agliotti classified information.

The State rejected Cilliers' argument, saying discrepancies in Agliotti's evidence were no grounds to discharge the State's case.

"It is the State's argument that we have done more than present evidence upon which the accused might reasonable be convicted," said State prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

He said Agliotti was shown classified documents by Selebi as part of their corrupt relationship and to "warn him and other members of the corruption agreement to enable them to take steps to protect both themselves and him".

"Agliotti testified that he was shown a portion of a document which the accused indicated that this was a report that went to the president [Thabo Mbeki], an intelligence report.

"The accused knew the money came from the Kebbles, that's why he discussed the NIE report with Agliotti," Nel said.

To further emphasise his contention that Selebi had a corrupt relationship with the Kebbles and Agliotti, who was a go-between between Selebi and the Kebbles, Nel said Selebi's excessive spending patterns came to an abrupt end following mining magnate Brett Kebble's death in September 2005.

Corrupt intent

"It is the State's case that the accused knew that his source of corrupt income died on 27 September 2005.

"It is also significant to note that the accused's clothing purchases from Grays [a luxury Sandton clothing store] suddenly stopped on 29 September 2005," Nel said.

By accepting money from the Kebbles given to him by Agliotti, Selebi "acted with a corrupt intent" and the fact that Agliotti never viewed the reasons for paying Selebi large sums of money as corrupt did not detract from that fact, he said.
The trial continues on Thursday.
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