Armed policemen arrest Scorpions boss
Scorpions boss Gerrie Nel was arrested at his Pretoria home on charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice on Tuesday night, his attorney Ian Small Smith confirmed on Wednesday.
Nel, the regional head of the Directorate of Special Operations, also known as the Scorpions, was arrested by about 20 armed policemen in front of his wife and children at his home at around 9pm on Tuesday.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said Nel faced five charges including fraud, defeating the ends of justice and perjury.
He is expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
According to the arrest warrant the charges against Nel were corruption and defeating the ends of justice between 2004 and 2005.
“The warrant was issued on the 22nd of November 2007 on a case registered in September 2007 for offences allegedly committed between 2004 and 2005,” he said.
“The police elected to withhold the warrant until the seventh of January before they arrested Advocate Nel under these peculiar, abusive and suspicious circumstances.”
Nel’s legal team was preparing an urgent application for Nel’s release to the Pretoria High Court, “on the basis that the warrant of arrest is malicious and that the police obtained the warrant in bad faith”.
“His subsequent detention is unlawful and the court would be urged to order his release.”
Nel led the investigation into the shooting of mining magnate Brett Kebble and led the state’s probe into alleged criminal activity by police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi.
His arrest comes as pressure mounts on the NPA to disclose their decision on whether or not Selebi had a case to answer.
The NPA on December 16 said it had made the decision following a report received from a panel tasked with reviewing the criminal charges against Selebi.
Selebi has come under fire over his involvement with convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, who is also accused of the murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble.
An arrest warrant against Selebi was cancelled in September last year.
It was obtained by Nel from the Randburg chief magistrate on September 10, for Selebi’s arrest for alleged corruption, fraud, racketeering and defeating the ends of justice.
In November last year, it emerged that Nel was the focus of a police investigation headed by one of the Gauteng province’s top cops, Commissioner Richard Mdluli.
Acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe on had held a high level Scorpions meeting in Cape Town where the case against Nel, and the possible reasons behind it, had topped the agenda.
Two of the complaints against Nel were made by one of his own investigators, Andrew du Plooy.
Du Plooy, who helped to expose allegedly corrupt former members of the unit, Cornwell Tshavhungwa and Geophrey Ledwaba, had opened a docket against Nel and investigator Piet Pieterse at the Silverton police station in Tshwane in 2007.
This was after Du Plooy had reported a complaint against the two men in 2006.