/ 15 November 2009

Billy Rautenbach reported to be missing

Ex-Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach is one of three missing witnesses due to testify in the corruption trial of former police chief Jackie Selebi, City Press reported in Sunday.

The newspaper reported that prosecutor Gerrie Nel and his team were trying ”frantically” to find Rautenbach.

On Thursday, Judge Meyer Joffe adjourned proceedings in the Johannesburg High Court at Nel’s request because of the ”difficulty” in consulting witnesses.

”There is difficulty I have had with consulting the next three witnesses … to prepare them for court,” said Nel. ”I would require the court to stand down.”

On Sunday, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga refused to comment on the matter.

Rautenbach, who lives in Zimbabwe, spent almost a decade on the run before entering into a plea-sentence agreement with the NPA on tax evasion charges on September 16, just 16 days before the start of Selebi’s trial.

Under the deal, Rautenbach, as a director of SA Botswana Hauliers, agreed to pay a fine of R40-million on 326 counts of fraud.

Convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti testified that
Rautenbach paid him $100 000 (about R743 500) as an alleged bribe for Selebi to assist him with his run-ins with the law.

Agliotti said Selebi, who was also president Interpol, was to check whether there were any international warrants out for Rautenbach. – Sapa