25 May 2024 | 12:27 AM

Trial a ‘personal vendetta’ against Selebi, says defence

Key Takeaways

Closing arguments in former top cop Jackie Selebi’s corruption trial have come to an end, six months after the trial began.

Defence counsel Jaap Cilliers on Thursday described how Selebi had faced an “unfair” trial because of an investigating team and prosecutor who were “clearly not objective”.

“We say that this trial was a personal vendetta by the DSO [Scorpions] and the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] against the accused,” Cilliers told the court. “The accused dared to question [former prosecutions head Bulelani] Ngcuka, he dared to question [former prosecutions boss Vusi] Pikoli; he dared to be outspoken about the continued existence of the DSO.”

He also said that the Scorpions wanted to “persuade the public through the press that they are an entity that cannot be disbanded, that they are a necessity in our community”. And the way they tried to illustrate this was “to arrest as many policemen as possible”.

In Nel’s replying argument, he pointed out that the defence “hasn’t dealt with any of the big five lies” that formed part of the prosecution, which the state said involved Selebi changing his version repeatedly; lying about holding a meeting with then-national director of public prosecutions Pikoli; pretending to co-author a list of expenses with his wife; saying that his wife shredded expenditure receipts; and fabricating a document that he claimed was the original before court.

“In the two days I’ve sat here I haven’t heard a word on the circumstantial evidence,” said Nel.

Judgement will be handed down on July 1.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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