Selebi faces the axe

Police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi is on the brink of being axed, the Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Selebi was placed on extended leave in January last year, after he was charged with corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

The Times reported that Minister of Safety and Security Nathi Mthethwa revealed on Talk Radio 702 on Monday night that he had asked President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Selebi.

Mthethwa said: “We need stability [on] that front so we need a permanent commissioner. So we’ve done that proposal; it’s with the president. It’s the president who appoints the commissioner.”

It was the Scorpions’ Bad Guys project that ultimately led to the arrest of Selebi last year.

The Mail & Guardian first showed in May 2007, under the headline ‘Selebi’s shady Kebble links” why Bad Guys was such an explosive investigation—the article detailed Selebi’s links to shadowy figures associated with slain businessman Brett Kebble.

Prominent among these figures was Glenn Agliotti, whom the commissioner brazenly insisted was ‘my friend, finish and klaar”.

Agliotti, who has since been named as ‘the Landlord” in an international narcotics syndicate, was arrested for Kebble’s murder last November.

Among allegations reported—and denied by Selebi—is that Agliotti and Kebble’s former security consultant, Clinton Nassif, had made untoward payments to the commissioner.
Nassif was another member of the network identified in the original M&G article. He too, was implicated in Kebble’s murder.

Both Nassif and Agliotti attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies in the course of the latter’s broader investigations into the coordination and financing of contraband smuggling activities.

Last June Mbeki—who has since been recalled from office—extended Selebi’s contract by a year.

Tim Williams is currently the acting police commissioner.

Meanwhile, Business Day reported on Wednesday that suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli could take Motlanthe to court should Parliament uphold the president’s decision to axe him.

The newspaper quoted Pikoli’s lawyer, Aslam Moosajee, as saying that while there was “no final decision” on legal action, his client would not take being axed “lying down”.

“[Pikoli’s] name has already been cleared [by the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry]. Ginwala said some really nice things about him. This is a matter of prosecutorial independence,” said Moosajee.

Former president Thabo Mbeki suspended Pikoli on September 23 2007, citing a breakdown in relations between Pikoli and former justice minister Brigitte Mabandla.

The Ginwala commission was established to investigate Pikoli’s suspension and in November last year recommended Pikoli be reinstated, although the commission found that his conduct held a real risk of undermining national security.

Despite the commission’s recommendations, Motlanthe decided against keeping Pikoli on. He said he took the decision to dismiss Pikoli because the inquiry found that the NPA head had given too little regard to national security matters.

“The report indicated that advocate Pikoli was not sensitive to the very important matter of national security,” Motlanthe told reporters in December.

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