NPA takes on State Security over Selebi trial


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) filed papers on Thursday to oppose the Ministry of State Security’s application for leave to appeal a judgement that would require former national intelligence coordinator Barry Gilder to testify in the corruption trial of former police national commissioner Jackie Selebi (pictured).

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the papers were filed at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), but he refused to discuss the contents of the papers, the South African Press Association reported. “We will not share with the media the contents of our papers as all issues in the dispute will be ventilated through the proper forum, which is the court,” he said in a statement.

The ministry lodged a petition at the SCA early in January to overturn a decision by Judge Meyer Joffe to compel Gilder to testify in Selebi’s corruption trial.

Selebi is facing a count of corruption and another of defeating the ends of justice in connection with at least R1.2-million he allegedly received from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, slain mining magnate Brett Kebble and former Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach in return for favours. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Gilder is expected to testify about a 2005 draft national intelligence estimate that contained a single paragraph about allegedly untoward payments Selebi was receiving from Kebble.

In its petition, the ministry has argued his testimony could compromise national security. But state advocate (prosecutor) Gerrie Nel says the testimony the state wants from Gilder was already in the public domain.

Mhaga earlier said the petition was not filed on an urgent basis. The SCA’s roll was apparently full for the next few months. The NPA’s response to the ministry’s application for leave to appeal was due on Friday (January 15), Mhaga told SAPA.

He said the ministry now had a chance to respond to the NPA’s papers before it would be heard in the SCA. No dates had been set yet.

Selebi’s corruption case resumes in the high court in Johannesburg on February 1, but it is now likely that it will be postponed for the appeal to be finalised.