Former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi is going to prison. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) this morning dismissed his appeal against a sentence of 15 years imprisonment that followed his conviction, last year July, for corruption.
“The appeal is dismissed,” Judge Kenneth Mthiyane said in Bloemfontein. Selebi was convicted for receiving benefits from convicted drug- trafficker Glenn Agliotti. In a unanimous decision, the court found the annotations “cash JS”, “A”, “cash cop”, and “cash chief” on cheque counterfoils referred to Selebi. They rejected the submission that the cheques were for an ill policeman Agliotti was helping to support. “This court also accepted that the words ‘cop’, c-o-p and ‘JS’ referred to the appellant,” said Mthiyane.
“On all the evidence contained in 66 volumes amounting to more than 600 pages that we had to wade through in this application for appeal, we are satisfied that the high court was correct in finding that the applicant did receive payment from Agliotti,” said Mthiyane.
Selebi was appointed police commissioner in 2000 and was suspended, just days before his arrest in 2008.
Opposition Democratic Alliance party police shadow minister Dianne Kohler Barnard in a statement said the SCA’s decision “finally marks the end of one of the most embarrassing and high-profile corruption trials in South African history. With this chapter closed, … Selebi must do the honourable thing and hand himself in at the nearest police station.”
She added the state has thus far paid in excess of R17.4 million in legal fees for Selebi. “I will today be writing to the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, to request that these costs are recovered as soon as possible. This follows the minister’s statement that the recovery of … Selebi’s legal fees by the State would only be considered once the appeal case had been finalised.
“The minister must act to ensure that the South African people do not have to bear the legal costs of the disgraced former police chief, who abused his access to state legal support to explore every possible avenue to get himself off the hook.
“The Selebi saga seriously eroded public confidence in the SAPS. It is now up to the Minister of Police and Acting Police Commissioner to ensure that the people’s faith in our police service is restored.