/ 7 October 2009

Charge-sheet error delays Selebi trial

The Jackie Selebi corruption trial was delayed on Wednesday morning when the state applied for an ”embarrassing” amendment of the charge sheet.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel admitted to a ”typing error” on the charge sheet that limits alleged corrupt deeds by Selebi to the end of 2005 and not 2006.

”I am embarrassed. There is a typing error in the charge sheet that was repeated,” Nel told the court.

Judge Meyer Joffe later granted the state’s application to have the charge sheet amended, allowing for convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti’s evidence about the 2006 handing over of documentation by Selebi to be admitted.

Agliotti will now resume his evidence in chief.

The delay was caused after Selebi’s counsel Jaap Cilliers complained on Tuesday about reference to a 2006 email sent by Selebi to his friend, Agliotti.

Agliotti testified that Selebi made available to him the email message and a confidential United Kingdom intelligence report, implicating him in criminal activity.

The email is apparently an intercepted document outlining the Scorpion’s investigation into Agliotti’s drug ring.

Cilliers protested that the charge sheet only allowed for evidence of activity between 2000 and 2005 to be admitted during the trial.

Nel admitted it was his mistake. ”I missed it. I read the charge sheet a hundred times and still missed it.”

He then applied to Judge Joffe to amend the charge sheet to allow for Agliotti’s evidence to be admitted.

Cilliers opposed the application, but later stated there could be no prejudice to Selebi if the charge sheet is admitted only to allow for the evidence about the email and UK report to be admitted.

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 Selebi’s friend and convicted drug dealer 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 state prosecutor Gerrie 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.