”I paid the accused an estimated R1-million, made up of rands and US dollars.”
This was the response of convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti to state prosecutor Gerrie Nel’s question as to how much money Agliotti had paid to former police boss Jackie Selebi.
Agliotti, the state’s first witness in Selebi’s corruption trial, told the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday afternoon of the different ways in which Selebi had benefited financially from their relationship, and how he had ”looked after” Selebi.
This included sponsoring an Interpol dinner in France, and tens of thousands of rands worth of expensive gifts, clothing and luxury handbags for Selebi and his family.
Agliotti told the court that his payments to Selebi started with small amounts in envelopes and escalated to large amounts being ”packed” into thick envelopes and collected by Selebi from his former fiancÃ©e, Dianne Muller’s, Midrand office.
Agliotti recalled two occasions on which he allegedly handed Selebi R120 000 and R200 000 in cash.
The state alleges that the payments were bribes to secure Selebi’s influence in crucial police matters.
Nel turned his attention to the Selebi payments after questioning Agliotti on his relationship with the Kebble family.
Agliotti was blunt about his ”contract” with the Kebbles — their relationship with Selebi came at a price. ”$1-million was my consulting fee,” Agliotti testified.
Nel: ”For what?”
Agliotti: ”To keep the accused [Selebi] on board. He was basically on board.”
When slain mining magnate Brett Kebble and his business partners wanted to meet Selebi, Agliotti was hesitant to expose his source to them. ”I didn’t want them to have easy access to the accused because then they would no longer need me or my services.”
Agliotti also explained the racket allegedly set up to pay Selebi. He bought a shelf company, called Spring Lights 6, from Muller’s father, Martin Flint, and used it to pocket the payments from the Kebble companies, mainly JCI and CMMS.
Agliotti also testified how he convinced the Kebbles to replace their head of security, Paul Stemmet, with Clint Nassif, another key state witness, who was convicted of drug dealing in 2007.
Agliotti estimates that the Kebbles deposited a total of R26-million to Spring Lights 6, of which he used R2-million as cash pay-outs.
Agliotti drew laughter from a packed public gallery when he told Judge Meyer Joffe he used to call Selebi ”Jackie”, ”chief” or ”Jax”.
Another way in which Selebi allegedly gained financially was when he was up for the presidency of Interpol. He was to attend an Interpol dinner in France, to rally votes, in 2004.
Selebi needed money and ”I was happy to sponsor this dinner,” said Agliotti. ”We worked out a figure of R30 000 and I handed it over in cash at Europa coffee shop in Sandton.” Selebi was soon after elected as head of Interpol.
Agliotti also allegedly showered Selebi and his family with expensive gifts. ”The accused and I met regularly in Sandton City, I enjoyed shopping and so did he.”
Agliotti claimed they would meet for coffee and then shop at one of the shops of Yusuf Surtee, well known as the tailor and designer to Nelson Mandela, and the owner of numerous upmarket clothing outlets, including Dunhill, Gray’s, Aigner, Lacoste and Hugo Boss.
Agliotti said he bought Selebi a number of suits, jackets, jerseys and T-shirts from these stores. He also bought him shoes from Harrods while on a trip to London, and Louis Vuitton shoes from Hong Kong.
He said he took Selebi’s sons on a shopping excursion at Fubu in Sandton City, and bought a R10 000 Louis Vuitton handbag for Selebi’s wife for her birthday, and a Â£500 Gucci handbag for his secretary.
Earlier on Tuesday, he told the court that his relationship with Selebi was based predominantly on sympathy, philanthropy and fundraising.
Earlier, Nel provided Judge Meyer Joffe with a list of charges that Agliotti would receive indemnity from if he responded truthfully throughout the proceedings, including theft, fraud and corruption. Selebi’s senior counsel, Jaap Cilliers, expressed his unhappiness, saying ”this is not proper, this does not comply with the requirements of law”. He added that many ”people whose money had been stolen, people who were defrauded” would query the validity of the document.
Agliotti then explained chronologically how he came to meet Selebi. The first meeting happened during the 1990s, when he met Selebi at African National Congress headquarters Shell House. Here, Selebi indicated to him ”the problems that he had of relocating a large number of ANC members who had been in exile”. These people were now estranged from their families, and had nowhere to live. Selebi also mentioned that he had a large medical bill to pay for his son.
”I sympathised with him and felt saddened at the task that lay ahead for him,” said Agliotti. He said he offered to settle Selebi’s son’s bill, which cost approximately R1 200, and then offered to import second-hand clothing to sell in South Africa, the proceeds of which would go to relocating the returning ANC exiles.
The second-hand clothing deal wasn’t realised.
Agliotti said they later met in 2000, through Surtee, a mutual friend.
Following this meeting, Agliotti again contacted Selebi for his assistance with an idea coined by Muller, Agglioti’s fiancÃ©e at the time. Muller was co-owner of Masupatsela, where Agliotti also worked. Muller wanted to imitate an event from the United States, in which law-enforcement services ran a torch marathon to raise funds for the Special Olympics, an event Agliotti referred to as one ”for mentally handicapped kids”. The couple then embarked on a project called African Hope, and contacted Selebi to help host the event, which subsequently took place in Cape Town.
Agliotti continued to testify that he, Selebi and their spouses often frequented Sandton City shopping centre to by clothes and drink coffee.