/ 9 October 2009

Agliotti: Selebi never gave me ‘improper assistance’

State witness Glenn Agliotti seemed to switch sides at the South Gauteng High Court on Friday, announcing that he never obtained ”improper assistance” from graft-accused former top cop Jackie Selebi in return for money and gifts.
Agliotti was responding to a statement by Selebi’s lawyer, Jaap Cilliers.

”I put it to you that you never obtained any improper assistance from the accused in any way … despite the fact on your version you gave him some money and gifts,” said Cilliers.

”That is correct, according to the accused,” replied Agliotti.

Cilliers continued: ”But you agree with me, the basic proposition, now as you sit there, the accused in no way provided you with any advantage on any improper basis whatsoever between 2000 and 2006.”

”I would agree with you, based on the fact that I deemed the accused as a friend … obviously I used that friendship for my own gain,” said Agliotti.

Agliotti was testifying on the fifth day of Selebi’s trial in which Selebi is facing two counts of corruption and defeating the ends of justice, which related to payments of at least R1,2-million he allegedly received from Agliotti, slain mining magnate Brett Kebble and former Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach, who was on the run from authorities for tax-evasion charges.

Agliotti was the state’s first witness and made a deal with the state to testify against his old friend, Selebi. If he answered questions honestly and frankly, he would get indemnity from prosecution on all criminal charges he could face related to the Selebi case.

Agliotti testified for the state that Selebi showed him some documents from United Kingdom intelligence authorities detailing Agliotti’s whereabouts, a claim that relates to the defeating the ends of justice charge against Selebi.

Selebi also showed Agliotti an email from former security officer Paul O’Sullivan to the Scorpions, in which O’Sullivan claims the pair was involved in criminal activities.

Cilliers told the court Selebi received that email from the press and that there was nothing untoward in showing the document to Agliotti.

”The purpose was clearly not an unlawful purpose, the purpose was to use it in proper legal proceedings by your lawyer,” Cilliers said to Agliotti, who agreed, saying, ”absolutely”.

Agliotti testified that at that stage, he and Selebi featured every week in media reports on their alleged criminal activities.

Also, the email and the UK report were shown to Agliotti a year after Selebi received the ”last gratification” from him, said Cilliers.

”If you look at the circumstances … it is clear, Mr Agliotti, even on your version, it appears these documents were handed to you, not because you ever gave the accused [anything] … it was done in order to resist this improper media [attention]. .. Payments or no payments did not play any role whatsoever at this stage,” said Cilliers.

”That is right,” said Agliotti.

”The object of the accused providing you with the documents … was clearly and only to resist this improper and unlawful smear campaign in the media … based on untrue facts,” said Cilliers, once again to Agliotti’s agreement. — Sapa