Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Dinner For Votes, Says Jackie Selebi

No dinner for votes, says Selebi


Graft-accused ex-top cop Jackie Selebi has denied ever taking R30 000 from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti to host a dinner to garner votes for election as Interpol head.

Defence lawyer Jaap Cilliers told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday that Selebi would rather have foregone the chance to be Interpol head than accept money.

“The accused absolutely refused to have such a dinner and said he would rather not be elected that to have a dinner. He refused to lobby in any way.”

Agliotti has testified that in August/September 2004 he allegedly gave Selebi R30 000 to fund a dinner in Paris to “lobby” for election as Interpol head.

Payment made a year after

However, Cilliers pointed out that the date on a cheque stub identified by the Scorpions as being for the dinner payment was made about a year after the Interpol election took place.

Agliotti then said there may have been two payments of R30 000. Cilliers slammed his answer, “Once you find the objective facts are wrong then you just change the version,” he said.

Selebi served as Interpol president from 2004 until January 12 last year, resigning after being suspended over the corruption allegations for which he is on trial.

Agliotti on Wednesday also gave the court an additional explanation for inconsistencies in his testimony and earlier statement to police.

Previously he had admitted that he lied on occasion. On Wednesday he said his memory also sometimes failed him.

"You take your mind back and you try and remember as much as you can," explained Agliotti.

"There have been inconsistencies in my statement. They are not intentional."

State deal
Agliotti has made a deal with the State in the Selebi case and will receive indemnity from prosecution on charges including corruption, money laundering, racketeering and defeating the ends of justice if he testifies "frankly and honestly".

He made it clear on Wednesday that his memory could not be jogged to remember exactly how many payments he made to Selebi or what the amount of each payment was.

"How many payments for R30 000 or R5000 or R10 000 [I made to Selebi]. I cannot remember every payment ... I did not keep a running log," he said.

On Thursday the court's attention will turn to determining the admissibility of a 2008 video recording of a meeting between Agliotti and NIA representatives.

Cilliers has asked that the video be admitted as evidence even though Agliotti testified that he was assured the recording was off the record.

Judge Meyer Joffe said he would hear full argument before deciding whether the recording could be viewed as evidence or if a trial within a trial should be held to determine admissibility.

Selebi is facing two counts of corruption and defeating the ends of justice, related to payments of at least R1,2-million he allegedly received from Agliotti, slain mining magnate Brett Kebble and former Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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