Convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti led damning evidence against one-time friend, former police chief Jackie Selebi, on Tuesday, detailing how approximately R1m was made in corrupt payments.
The high court in Johannesburg also heard more claims made against former chief prosecutor Bulelani Ngcuka.
Agliotti also described his relationships with controversial businessmen Brett Kebble and Billy Rautenbach. While Agliotti was charging Kebble a US$1m “consulting fee” for access to Selebi, he said he paid the former top cop “estimates of approximately R1m” over a period of “a year and a bit”.
The court also heard that Kebble paid about R26m into an account for Agliotti to use to pay Selebi.
Agliotti testified how he was first introduced to Kebble by his former security head Paul Stemmet, who was later replaced by Clinton Nassif because Kebble felt he could not trust Stemmet.
Kebble, the CEO of JCI at the time, and his confidante Johan Stratton told Agliotti they had “complaints” and “problems” that needed to be addressed at the highest level in the SA Police Service.
These problems included an investigation into DRD Gold mining company and the arrest of Kebble’s father, Roger, at the airport, which Kebble believed to have been “wrongful”.
Agliotti eventually convened a meeting with police representatives, including Selebi, at which former judge Willem Heath, representing the JCI, presented complaints to be further investigated by the police.
After this, the relationship with Agliotti and Kebble and his confidantes had been “cemented”. “I cemented a relationship with them … because of my relationship with the accused.”
Asked by prosecutor Gerrie Nel if he had ever been confronted about payments made to Selebi, Agliotti said commissioner Mulangi Mphego once phoned him to arrange an meeting in Pretoria.
“At the meeting … he told me he was monitoring my phone and everyone else’s … he asked me about the matter of $1m [from Kebble] for [access to] the accused.”
Agliotti said at this point he denied it.
“I told him that I used the accused’s name to secure this payment from the Kebbles … I knew the accused would be rather upset if the commissioner approached him on this and I didn’t want the accused to know the amount of money I had asked the Kebbles for.”
Turning to his interaction with Rautenbach, Agliotti said the ex-Hyundai boss and mining businessman requested to meet him in Zimbabwe because he had heard that he was connected to Selebi.
At that stage, a warrant of arrest had been issued against Rautenbach who had been on the run from SA authorities for a decade on tax evasion charges.
At the meeting, Rautenbach told Agliotti he had information incriminating Ngcuka that Selebi could use.
Rautenbach gave him a file which contained a letter from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) addressed to Rautenbach’s attorney in London, signed by Ngcuka.
“He wanted me to hand the document to the accused as it would serve good purpose for Billy Rautenbach and to discredit Bulelani Ngcuka.
“I handed it to the accused. He said he would look into the matter,” said Agliotti.
In the letter, read out in court and written on an NPA letterhead, Ngcuka apparently said he believed there was a real possibility of finding a “mutually beneficial resolution” between Rautenbach and the NPA.
Ngcuka said to Rautenbach’s lawyer that it was “important for your client to convince us about his bona fides in order for us to take the process forward”.
Ngcuka wanted to know if Rautenbach was aware of any bank accounts being used by members of foreign governments to launder money.
Agliotti said Rautenbach paid him $100 000 for talking to Selebi and handing over the letter. He gave Selebi $30 000 of that money.
Rautenbach subsequently made a deal on behalf of his company on 18 September which saw tax evasion charges dropped if he paid a R40m fine.
Selebi — who has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice — has argued that the case against him was cooked up by Ngcuka and his successor Vusi Pikoli.
On Monday his attorney said Ngcuka had been fabricating evidence against him and had tried to solicit a bribe from Rautenbach.
On Tuesday, dressed in a dark grey suit with a light blue shirt and blue tie, Selebi appeared drawn and tired as he sat just metres from the man he had once called his “friend, finished and klaar”.
With his bulky body turned away from Selebi, Agliotti sat, then stood in the witness stand detailing their nearly decade-long friendship.
He testified that he and Selebi, whom he nicknamed “Chief” and “Jax”, would “often meet, chat, shop together… Jackie and myself”.
During a court break Selebi said he did not want to sit down in the witness box during the break. “That bench is too hard. I think I’ll bring a cushion for the cross examination”, an experience which, he said, “will be interesting”. — Sapa