/ 4 May 2011

Judgement day for Sheryl Cwele

Judgement Day For Sheryl Cwele

The Pietermaritzburg High Court is expected to deliver judgement in the drug trafficking case involving the wife of the state security minister on Wednesday morning.

The state alleges that Sheryl Cwele, wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and co-accused Frank Nabolisa conspired to use two women as drug mules.

Judge Piet Koene was expected to start delivering his judgement at 10am.

The pair has pleaded not guilty to 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 was found in her luggage in Brazil in 2008, and is serving a jail sentence in Sao Paolo. Moss turned state witness.

Both Nabolisa and Cwele decided not to take the witness stand.

In March, an application for the charges to be withdrawn against Cwele was rejected. Koene denied the applications and said the ruling would be given at the end of the case.

Her advocate, Mvuseni Ngubane argued that Cwele should be acquitted of the three charges because there was nothing linking her to the crime. He 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.

State prosecutor Ian Cooke read a series of emails and text messages that he said proved that Cwele was played a part in arranging for Beetge to collect drugs. — Sapa