Pikoli got ‘warrant for arrest of Selebi’
SABC drops bombshell over SA’s top prosecutor and national police chief
By PIET VAN NIEKERK
SOUTH Africa’s national broadcaster dropped a bombshell last night by reporting that National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli had obtained a warrant for the arrest of national police chief Jackie Selebi shortly before he was suspended by President Thabo Mbeki.
The SABC said it had “reliably learnt” that the NPA obtained the warrant from the Pretoria High Court on Thursday last week.
The report said: “Sources close to SABC news have also revealed that the warrant is accompanied by a search-and-seizure document obtained from the Pretoria High Court.”
Mbeki suspended Pikoli on Monday, claiming that an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between Pikoli and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla had led to this decision.
National police spokesperson Sally de Beer last night said: “The police are not in possession of any warrant of arrest (for Selebi).
“I have been in his office all day and have no knowledge of it. I have spoken to him and he doesn’t know about it. We don’t know anything.”
The National Prosecuting Authority would not comment.
NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali responded to the news report by saying the SABC should be approached for comment “to find out where they got it”.
Tlali told the Daily Dispatch: “We have no comment. We have nothing to hide. We just don’t know.”
A Pretoria High Court official said she was in the process of checking whether a search-and-seizure warrant had been issued by the court.
Registrar of the urgent court, Willie van Zyl, told Sapa: “I know of no such thing.”
A search-and-seizure warrant can be issued by a judge in chambers – and not necessarily in an open court. Such a document can also be obtained without giving the subject notice.
Last year, Selebi was criticised for having links with shadowy figures associated with slain businessman Brett Kebble.
He admitted to being a friend of alleged Mafia associate Glenn Agliotti who worked with Kebble and is now accused of Kebble’s murder.
Earlier this week, media reports suggested Mbeki would be following Pikoli’s suspension by also asking for an inquiry into Selebi. It was believed the inquiry would look into allegations that Selebi, also the head of Interpol, had links with crime syndicates.
Sapa reported last night that National Scorpions chief Leonard McCarthy and the Gauteng head of the Scorpions, Gerhard Nel, refused to confirm or deny the existence of a warrant. Pikoli referred enquiries to acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe.
The DA’s spokesperson on safety and security, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said if a warrant had been issued, Selebi should step down immediately and Mbeki needed to personally explain why he did not disclose it when he justified the suspension.
She said the DA has for the past year called for the suspension of Selebi.
“There are several outstanding questions around the commissioner’s actions and relationship with his colleagues which can only be answered in a court of law,” she said.