Payback time for Selebi Off to jail, owes state R15m
DISGRACED former top cop Jackie Selebi collapsed at his luxury Pretoria home minutes after he watched on television the Supreme Court of Appeal dismiss his appeal.
Now the state will move to get him to pay back the R15 million it cost the state to defend him in court, and he will be expected to report to prison to start his 15-year jail sentence by Monday.
Late last night one of Selebi’s lawyers, Wynanda Coetzee, said Selebi was stable, but seriously ill in hospital.
“We are really worried about him. It is awful what has happened,” she said.
Yesterday morning, Selebi emerged at the door of his Waterkloof house to welcome several visitors who arrived before the verdict. Casually dressed, he avoided coming out onto the driveway, in camera range of the assembled media in the road outside.
One visitor in an Audi A4 attempted to intimidate journalists by first taking photographs of them before making a video recording. He would not say who he was.
By 10am, the SCA had ruled that the former national police commis- sioner would have to go to jail to serve his sentence for corruption. It found that the Johannesburg High Court’s judgment last August had been correct, and that Selebi had been paid by convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti.
“On all the evidence contained in 66 volumes amounting to more than 600 pages that we had to wade through in his application for appeal, we are satisfied that the High Court was correct in finding that the applicant did receive payment from Agliotti,” Judge Kenneth Mthiyane said.
Shortly afterwards Coetzee confirmed that Selebi had collapsed inside his house.
The driveway was cleared and an ambulance arrived. Selebi was put inside. Family members followed shortly afterwards by car. He was taken to Jacaranda Hospital.
No one would comment on record, but it appears that Selebi’s collapse was caused by a combination of stress and his diabetes.
Last night, Selebi’s nemesis, crime fighter Paul O’sullivan, said he hoped Selebi would be forced into prison, “in a wheelbarrow if necessary”, within the 48 hours limit he has been given before he starts serving his sentence.
“I hope they put him on a drip and keep him alive for every day of those 15 years so that he can serve his entire sentence. He’s not going to deprive South Africans from seeing justice being done.”
He said it was fitting that Selebi lost his appeal 10 years to the day he had had O’sullivan thrown out of the police reserves.
“Then he conspired with the CEO of Acsa to have me fired from my job protecting South Africans travelling through our airports. This has cost me my life, my family has been put into exile, my youngest daughter was born in exile because of that man and the crooked officers he surrounded himself with,” said O’sullivan.
“This is the man who as the head of Interpol gave a keynote speech to the world’s police officers on the importance of having anti-corruption officers, and then six weeks after he returned to South Africa had our anti-corruption unit shut down. And then he tried to get the Independent Complaints Directorate disbanded.”
O’sullivan said he had spent his life savings trying to expose Selebi.
Yesterday, Agliotti remained mum: “I’ve just returned from Singapore. I was told Mr Selebi had collapsed and I heard he had lost his appeal, but I don’t want to comment.”
Last night, justice spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that the state would begin procedures to recoup the money it had spent on Selebi.
“This is consistent with the agreement he entered into with the state to the effect that if he lost this case he would pay back what was paid towards the costs of his legal assistance.
“One of the previous calculations showed that the amount owing was around R15m.”
Coetzee said yesterday that she expected Selebi would only report to Correctional Services on Monday.
“A warrant issued to Correctional Services to admit him needs to be issued,” she said.
Selebi would have to report to the Registrar of the South Gauteng High Court first, where he would be advised of the facility to which he needed to report.
Correctional Services ministerial spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga told the Weekend Argus late yesterday that when Selebi arrived, he would be treated like any other inmate.
This meant giving up his civilian clothes for jail orange, and undergoing a check-up as part of the assessment process, which would eventually determine his offender, or risk category, and the type of jail to which he would be assigned.
Asked to comment on Selebi’s condition, Netcare911 and Jacaranda Hospital spokesmen declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Mbananga said he could not discuss details or security protocols. Considerations could be that, as a former law enforcement officer, Selebi may face risks behind bars which ordinary inmates would not.
There is, however, a precedent of special treatment for prisoners, dubbed “VIP inmates”, such as Schabir Shaik, one- time financial adviser to President Jacob Zuma, and former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni.
Both were released on parole.
COLLAPSED: Former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi inside the ambulance that transported him from his Pretoria home to Jacaranda Hospital yesterday, when he collapsed after hearing that his appeal against his corruption conviction had been turned down by the Supreme Court of Appeal.