State Security postpones Selebi trial


State security minister Siyabonga Cwele is to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal to set aside a ruling by the South Gauteng High Court that a former intelligence coordinator give evidence in the corruption trial of ex national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, delaying that trial to next year.

Judge Meyer Joffe refused Cwele leave to appeal a decision to force former intelligence co-ordinator Barry Gilder to testify, albeit in camera.

The Times reports that Joffe last week ordered that Gilder’s testimony should be heard, but in a closed court after Cwele and the director-general of the State Security Agency, Mzuvukile Maqetuka argued that his testimony would compromise state security.

Joffe ruled that the prosecution might ask the questions it intended to ask, but said in order to protect the concerns of Cwele about intelligence methods and intelligence sources being divulged, Gilder’s testimony would be held behind closed doors.

Gilder did not testify because Cwele’s advocate, Marumo Moerane SC, then asked to be given a chance to obtain further instructions from Cwele, Business Day reported at the time.

State witness Glenn Agliotti testified that Selebi showed him a draft 2005 National Intelligence Estimate report, which contained an allegation from businessman Jurgen Kogl that Selebi received payments from slain mining boss Brett Kebble.

The Mail & Guardian noted the information was excluded from the final document.

State Advocate Gerrie Nel said that in leading Gilder’s evidence, the prosecution would not disclose any intelligence methods and would not reveal any intelligence sources. “We only want testimony on the existence of the draft.”

Nel said its existence was disclosed to former national director of public prosecutions Vusi Pikoli and was at least four years old.

In reply, Moerane said the Intelligence Services Act stated that a former member of the intelligence service may not disclose in any form or manner any information or any material unless the director-general concerned had granted permission.

In his ruling, Joffe said the proposed questions would not disclose intelligence-gathering methods that would undermine national security. He said if any questions were asked during cross-examination that compromised state security, Moerane could object or the judge could stop that question from being asked.

The Star notes Gilder was co-ordinator for intelligence from 2005 to 2007.