Jackie Selebi’s former secretary Eunice Grové contradicted him at least three times during evidence in the South Gauteng High Court on Monday.
Grové was the third witness called to testify in the former police National Commissioner’s defence. She followed former police spin doctor Sally de Beer, who spent less than 20 minutes in the witness box on Monday morning.
De Beer gave evidence about receiving the so-called “O’Sullivan dossier” from an Independent Newspapers journalist and taking it to Selebi. The following day Selebi gave in interview to the Sunday Independent in which he slammed the allegations against him as “garbage”.
But it was Grové’s evidence that was material to the state’s case against Selebi.
She was called by defence advocate Fanus Coetzee to testify about Selebi’s expenses when travelling abroad, and alleged suspicious telephone calls.
During evidence in chief, Grové however bolstered the state’s case by telling the court she used to keep one or two days’ worth of Selebi’s subsistence allowance for overseas trips to make up for shortfalls.
Selebi said during cross-examination he often returned to South Africa with a surplus subsistence allowance and used this to justify the large amounts of foreign currency in his possession.
The exact opposite was true, according to Grové. Asked by Coetzee why she kept part of his subsistence allowance with her, Grové said: “I struggled to ask him for money. I preferred to give back this money than to ask him for money.”
She explained this was because Selebi’s claims would “normally” not add up and he would have had to refund the police.
Asked by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross-examination to explain why she sometimes exchanged more rands into foreign currency for Selebi than what was given to her by the police, Grové said she couldn’t remember.
She said handled a huge amount of transactions and couldn’t remember specific ones.
Nel accused Selebi last week of money laundering by exchanging money he received from drug-dealer Glenn Agliotti into foreign exchange and vice versa when traveling abroad.
The two other contradictions were:
- Grové told the court Selebi used his signature-stamp only during December to stamp Christmas cards. Selebi said he and his staff sometimes used the stamp on official documentation.
- Grové denied that a gift register existed in Selebi’s office. She recalled the police’s human resources department having a gift register. Selebi testified that he declared gifts with Grové and her colleague who worked in his office. This included shopping vouchers the family allegedly received from the Taiwanese embassy.
Grové said she used to listen to Selebi’s voicemail messages because he didn’t know how to acess them. She never heard any “suspicious” messages or answered calls from “suspicious” individuals.
She knew the name Agliotti, but only saw him entering Selebi’s office once or twice to help with the planning of a charity event for disabled children.
Selebi’s senior defence counsel Jaap Cilliers asked for a postponement after they couldn’t secure a third witness for Monday. The Mail & Guardian understands that this is Lieutenant-General Andre Pruis, who was Selebi’s deputy.
Pruis is expected to take the stand on Tuesday.
Selebi is accused of corruption relating to his alleged corrupt relationship with drug-dealer Glenn Agliotti, and of defeating the ends of justice relating to secret documents Selebi allegedly showed Agliotti.