Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Selebi was probed, says NPA


Mail & Guardian Online reporter and Sapa Johannesburg, South Africa
02 October 2007 05:49
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Police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi has been investigated but no decision has been made on prosecuting him, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.It said there has been "considerable confusion" about the status of a probe involving Selebi."The NPA would like to clarify aspects relating to this issue," it said in a statement."An investigation relating to this matter has been conducted by the Directorate of Special Operations [the Scorpions]. In terms of the NPA Act, the national director of public prosecutions [NDPP] may review a decision to prosecute or not to prosecute."The acting NDPP [Mokotedi Mpshe] has decided to conduct a review of this matter."NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali declined to indicate when this review will be completed. The statement said Mpshe would continue to be briefed regularly on all "significant matters" that were being investigated or prosecuted by the NPA. Responding to media reports of other cases under review, the NPA said: "In relation to other high profile matters which are the subject of media speculation today [Tuesday], the NPA would like to state that there is no such review under way."Decisions about prosecutions in outstanding matters will be taken in due course and in accordance with the law." There has been much speculation in the media around the reason for the suspension last week of National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli -- due to an "irretrievable breakdown" in the relationship between him and Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Brigitte Mabandla, according to the government.Some reports have suggested that Pikoli was dismissed after issuing an arrest warrant for Selebi based on the police chief's alleged ties to criminal syndicates.The Mail & Guardian has reported that Pikoli's failure to give his political superiors full details of the investigation into Selebi -- and possibly of Selebi's planned arrest -- led to his suspension, according to a range of official sources.The M&G first revealed Selebi's links to organised crime figures, and the Scorpions' investigation into these links, in May last year.The Democratic Alliance has said it will ask President Thabo Mbeki questions in Parliament relating to Pikoli's suspension.Question timeMbeki was caught off guard on Tuesday when asked questions at a media photo opportunity at the Union Buildings in Pretoria about the possible arrest of Selebi.Responding to questions from journalists by asking more questions, Mbeki queried whether it was a president's job to issue warrants of arrest, at which the journalist asking the question responded: "No.""So why do you ask it of this one?" Mbeki inquired.The short but lively impromptu question-and-answer session started with Mbeki being asked whether he had seen a warrant of arrest for Selebi. "You cannot be serious. Have you ever heard of a president issuing a warrant?" a bemused Mbeki asked.When he was pushed for an answer, he said the questions should be asked of prosecutors.Shortly afterwards, Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad intervened and journalists were ushered out of a room where he was meeting the presidential working group on trade unions."You are out of order, stop it, you are out of order," Pahad said as officials escorted journalists out of the room.After being taken out of the room, journalists were told that a media briefing on the outcome of Mbeki's interaction with union leaders was cancelled. Selebi, in an interview with Talk Radio 702 this week, said there was a problem "when someone makes an allegation in order to investigate his own allegations".He told the radio station and was quoted in the Star as saying: "I am certain that I, Jackie Selebi, have never been involved in that kind of wrongdoing. I have never been involved in any kind of criminal activity. If I was I would have resigned a long time ago." -- Sapa
Related articles
Selebi probe under way
Rumours swirl over suspension
Pikoli: The Selebi connection

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