Former Kebble security boss Clinton Nassif has now sat through two-and-a-half days of cross-examination, as murder accused Glenn Agliotti’s defence tries to show that he is not a reliable witness.
Nassif is the fifth witness in the murder trial of mining magnate Brett Kebble, who was shot in Johannesburg in 2005.
As he spent all of Monday doing, defence counsel Laurance Hodes again listed numerous instances where Nassif’s versions have been different, or “irreconcilable”.
In one instance, Hodes pointed out to Nassif that he had given the court three different versions regarding a meeting held with Kebble and his then-business associate, Australian John Stratton, at Kebble’s house — where Stratton told Nassif that a pill that would induce a heart attack, which he had asked Nassif to source, was in fact for Kebble himself.
“You’ve put three versions before the court,” said Hodes. “In one statement you say Agliotti was not present, in your second statement you say Agliotti was present and gave you instructions with Stratton, and in your testimony you say that Stratton told you and Glenn, and Glenn was equally shocked.”
Court adjourned a few minutes early to allow the judge to send a “tired”-looking Nassif home to “rest”.
Earlier on Tuesday, Hodes told the court that Nassif’s attorney, Tammo Vink, had been harassing Stratton to discuss entering into a plea bargain for the murder.
Hodes showed the court an email sent from Vink directly to Stratton in June 2010, which says, regarding the Kebble shooting, “It’s currently a good time for us to sit together and determine a solution to these problems.” The letter was addressed to “Uncle John”.
Efforts to have Stratton extradited to South Africa have as yet been unsuccessful.
According to Hodes, Vink was implying that he had been in contact with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). But the NPA knew nothing about it.
In a heated response, Stratton’s attorneys asked Vink to leave their client alone. “We understand that you have seen fit to email our client intimating that you had met with the prosecuting authorities in respect of the Kebble murder — We would like to formally advise you not to contact our client, or for that matter to make any assertions of any nature to the NPA that that you are in any way connected to or have any involvement with our client — we place on record that you have no authority to act on our client’s behalf or to create any impression or engage the NPA on the assumption that you act on our client’s behalf.”
Vink had, three years earlier, arrived at Stratton’s house in Perth, where he attempted to speak to him about a plea bargain.
“You offered plea bargains to all and sundry,” Hodes told Nassif.
Nassif denied any knowledge of the email from Vink to Stratton.
Agliotti has pleaded not guilty to four charges — the murder of Kebble and conspiracy to murder Kebble, the attempted murder of former Allan Gray chief investment officer Stephen Mildenhall, and conspiracy to murder Mildenhall and mining bosses Danie Nortier, Mark Bristow and Mark Wellesley-Wood.
The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story.www.amabhungane.co.za.