/ 16 October 2009

Agliotti: Ngcuka approached about Rautenbach

Glenn Agliotti approached then Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka about ex-Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach’s tax issues, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard on Friday.

Convicted drug trafficker Agliotti said the first person he approached about Rautenbach — who at that stage was facing charges of tax evasion — was former top cop Jackie Selebi, in whose corruption trial he is currently testifying.

”I knew the accused knew Ivan Pillay [of the South African Revenue Service and I asked] him to enquire if there was anything Mr Rautenbach could or should do.”

Agliotti said Selebi came back and said Rautenbach would have to return to ”face the music” and make legal representations to the South African Revenue Service himself.

He said afterwards he approached Ngcuka, but nothing came of it.

”In fact he said there was nothing he could do and it was too much of a sensitive issue.”

Previously Agliotti has testified that Selebi, the then Interpol head, did at some stage get information for Rautenbach on whether an international arrest warrant had been issued against him.

Both Selebi and Agliotti have accused Ngcuka of hatching a plot against the former cop.

Agliotti also said he gave Selebi a copy of a letter allegedly written by Ngcuka to Rautenbach’s lawyer.

In the letter Ngcuka apparently said he believed there was a real possibility of finding a ”mutually beneficial resolution” between Rautenbach and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Agliotti also alleges that Ngcuka wanted information from Rautenbach on mining rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

On Friday, Agliotti said the $30 000 he gave Selebi out of a fee of $100 000 was for talking to Selebi and handing over the letter was purely out of friendship.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Jaap Cilliers pointed out the fee was paid to Agliotti about two years after Selebi had already told him he could do nothing for Rautenbach.

”As a friend I gave him the money,” said Agliotti.

Cilliers put forward the notion that this was Agliotti’s general intention in paying Selebi and other friends money.

”As in all the other incidents of making payments, these payments were not given on the basis that the accused would act in any way upon that … You don’t make all the other payments on the basis that the accused should act as a result thereof to do anything or to refrain from doing anything.”

Agliotti, wearing a striped black and white tie, agreed with this.

”I’ve helped friends before. I’ve given presents to friends before. That’s just how I am,” he explained.

However, Judge Meyer Joffe warned him that he did not have to answer further questions along this line, as he could possibly incriminate himself.

”[You are saying] these payments are made in a proper manner and you agree, it could be found they are made in an improper manner, these [answers] could incriminate you.”

He gave Agliotti the option of consulting his legal team, but Cilliers then changed the direction of his questions.

Friday is the last day of week two in the corruption trial and Agliotti, the first witness is still on the stand.

Reprieve for Agliotti
Judge Joffe ruled on Friday that that because of a death in the family of prosecutor Gerrie Nel, court would resume for its 10th day on Tuesday

Cilliers had also asked for some time to go through notes before concluding his cross-examination of Agliotti.

Cilliers said: ”We have nearly finished cross-examination.”

Agliotti would then face re-examination by the State.

Agliotti confessed on Friday that he was tired from his lengthy stay on the stand.

”I’ve been here for eight or nine days and it gets rather tiring. I’m not making excuses, but it gets rather difficult.”

Besides offering his condolences to Nel, Judge Joffe also said Agliotti now had a reprieve.

”Mr Agliotti, it means you have a long weekend,” to which Agliotti smiled.

During a break, Agliotti told the prosecutors his young child never saw him anymore.

”Every night on TV he says, ‘There’s daddy. There’s daddy.’ It’s the only time he sees me.”

Agliotti has made a deal with the State in the Selebi case and will receive indemnity from prosecution on charges including corruption, money laundering, racketeering and defeating the ends of justice if he testifies ”frankly and honestly”.

Selebi is facing two counts of corruption and defeating the ends of justice related to payments of at least R1,2-million he allegedly received from Agliotti, Rautenbach and slain mining magnate Brett Kebble. — Sapa