“I bought shoes for the ex-president, Thabo Mbeki,” drug lord Glenn Agliotti told the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday afternoon during former police chief Jackie Selebi’s corruption trial.
Agliotti, testifying for his second day, said that on one of his shopping trips at upmarket stores in Sandton City with Selebi, Selebi “indicated that he needed to buy shoes” for Mbeki.
“He told the shop’s assistants that he needed a size seven, because the president had small and broad feet.” Agliotti said he put the shoes on his account, but doesn’t know what happened to them after they left the store.
Agliotti resumed his testimony after Judge Meyer Joffe ruled that the state may amend its charge sheet to include alleged crimes committed in 2006 by Selebi. Earlier, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel admitted to a “typing error” on the charge sheet that limited alleged corrupt deeds by Selebi to the end of 2005, and not 2006.
The state alleges Selebi abused his position to corruptly benefit Agliotti, who paid him about R1-million in cash and bought clothes for his family.
After giving more detail about his shopping sprees with Selebi, Agliotti started telling the court about confidential reports Selebi showed him.
The first report was allegedly brought to Agliotti during an urgent meeting called by Selebi, in 2005, at his Midrand offices.
The document was opened to a page where Selebi had underlined two lines.
“It was something to the effect that ‘Jurgen Kögl reports that the Kebbles are paying Selebi’.” Agliotti said that neither he nor Selebi knew Kögl. Selebi was “rather upset” and would demand a “letter of apology”, as this letter had already been sent to Mbeki.
Agliotti said that he learnt from the Kebbles that Kögl had entered into a business venture with the late Brett Kebble, but the deal had gone sour and strained relations between the parties. “I refer to this document as an NIA report,” said Agliotti.
Nel then questioned Agliotti on a second report, referred to as a “UK report”.
In July 2006, “the accused phoned and asked to see me urgently”, said Agliotti, upon which they met at the Midrand office. Here Selebi showed him a short document, which bore the coat of arms of the United Kingdom, and “either HMS or Her Majesty’s Customs”.
In the document, Agliotti read notes on his movements, specifically a trip to London with fellow drug dealer Clinton Nassif, and “a shopping trip”, also to London, with his daughter.
The report mentioned that Agliotti had met with English nationals Billy Ambrose and a friend called “Cahill”.
“[Selebi] wanted to make me aware of the fact that authorities in the UK were monitoring my movements,” Agliotti testified.
Nel asked him whether he had ever been questioned by the police about the document, upon which he replied that he hadn’t.
Nel then proceeded to present the court, and Agliotti, with documents that had been sent by British authorities to the South African Police Service (SAPS), listing suspected illegal drug-trafficking activities on Agliotti’s part.
One document to director Mark Henkel of the police’s crime intelligence unit addressed an operation called “Extine”. It describes that Agliotti was suspected of trafficking cocaine from the United Kingdom via Venezuela and Angola to South Africa. Agliotti said he knew nothing about it.
It also mentions his association with “Baldy John”, an English national, also known as Christopher John Granger, who allegedly transported drugs for Agliotti.
Nel also produced another document from the British High Commission in South Africa to the police, asking for information about Agliotti’s activities.
Agliotti said that although he was questioned briefly at Heathrow airport’s customs by British officials, he was never approached or questioned by the SAPS on any of the documents and suspicions.
Rautenbach ‘paid for his problems’ to disappear
On Tuesday, the court heard that former Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach allegedly paid $100 000 for his “problems” in South Africa to disappear.
Rautenbach, who is set to testify in the trial, featured prominently in the evidence of Agliotti.
Agliotti testified that he charged Rautenbach $100 000 to use his connection with Selebi to “sort out” Rautenbach’s problems in South Africa. However, the only assistance Rautenbach received from the former top cop was confirmation that an international arrest warrant hadn’t been issued by Interpol.
Selebi, according to Agliotti, received $30 000 of Rautenbach’s money in return for his assistance.
Two weeks ago Rautenbach finally handed himself to South African authorities and agreed to pay a R40-million fine.
The court also heard on Tuesday how Agliotti allegedly paid Selebi R1-million in bribes to secure Selebi’s influence.
“I paid the accused an estimated R1-million, made up of rands and US dollars.” This was the response of Agliotti to Nel’s question as to how much money Agliotti had paid to Selebi.
Agliotti told the court 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 fiancée, 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.