Sheryl Cwele bids for acquittal on drugs charges

Sheryl Cwele, the wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, should be acquitted of three drug-trafficking charges because there is nothing linking her to the crime, the high court sitting in Ramsgate heard on Wednesday.

“No evidence exists to suggest there was a discussion about drugs,” Cwele’s advocate, Mvuseni Ngubane, submitted in the application.

Cwele and her Nigerian co-accused, Frank Nabolisa, have pleaded not guilty to charges of dealing or conspiring to deal in drugs; procuring a woman called Charmaine Moss to collect drugs in Turkey; and procuring another woman, Tessa Beetge, to smuggle cocaine from South America.

Beetge was arrested when 10kg of cocaine were found in her luggage in Brazil in 2008 and is serving a jail sentence in São Paolo.

Moss has turned state witness.

Ngubane told the court that Cwele had not denied knowing Nabolisa, Beetge and Moss. He said she introduced the women to Nabolisa because he had told her he was looking for white people to work for his company in South Africa and abroad.

‘She had no knowledge of the crime’
Ngubane said Cwele had admitted to communicating with Beetge while she was overseas after she complained that she could not get hold of Nabolisa.

“The state has not submitted evidence that she [Cwele] knew about drugs.

“She had no knowledge of the crime,” said Ngubane.

There was also no evidence that suggested that Beetge was recruited to deal in drugs.

Ngubane said the fact that Cwele used her own cellphone to communicate with Nabolisa and Beetge meant that she was innocent, as she might have used a public phone if she was dealing in drugs.

He said an intercepted text message on Beetge and a parcel did not mean that it was parcel of drugs. “It could mean anything,” he said.

Asked about the intercepted calls and text messages between Beetge, Nabolisa and Cwele, Ngubane said there was no proof that the evidence had not been interfered with.

Typing errors were picked up in the transcripts up Tuesday.

Argument over the acquittal application was expected to continue after the break.—Sapa

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