Friday, July 2, 2010
Super sleuth Byleveld: It's time to move on
1 July 2010, 20:00
One of South Africa's best known and respected police detectives, Piet Byleveld worked into the final minutes of his illustrious 38-year career, he said on Thursday.
"There was no send-off party for me yesterday as I was still working on cases that I couldn't just leave, it's a different career this," he told Sapa.
Byleveld, 60, retired from the SA Police Services on Wednesday, as his age didn't allow him to work any longer.
"It's time to move on, I have reached that age where it doesn't allow me to work anymore. But I won't be able to sit still," he said, adding that there were many offers from several companies who wanted his expertise.
"I am attached to this kind of work, I can't just immediately give it a rest... but for now, there will be no cellphones, lots of bush camping, and I plan to travel to England at the end of the year."
The super sleuth said an autobiography detailing the most notable cases he worked on would be launched this month.
"It's nearly finished, I will know by Tuesday on when the actual date of the launch will be. I am using this first month of retirement to sort out everything that needs to be."
Although he entered retirement with nothing else but rest on his mind, the question of who helped Donovan Moodley conceal the body of Leigh Matthews would trouble him for a long time to come.
"It's definitely still troubling me, I used to have sleepless nights about it, but there are now other people who will carry on with the job... I will still be in the background though."
Moodley was found guilty of murdering Matthews, then aged 21, after he kidnapped her from the Bond University campus in Sandton, Johannesburg, in July 2004.
He held her for several hours before taking R50,000 ransom money from her father, and shot her.
On August 4, 2005 he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, 15 years for the kidnapping and 10 years for extortion by Judge Joop Labuschagne.
Moodley accused Byleveld of manipulating the case, in order to conclude it as speedily as possible. He claimed that during the investigation, Byleveld was under financial pressure and had his eyes on a bonus for arresting somebody for the murder.
Moodley had no legal options left after losing a bid to appeal his sentence at the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this year. He approached the court last year, claiming his sentence was "shockingly inappropriate". - Sapa
Judgment day is here for Selebi
1 July 2010, 22:53
Strict guidelines to cover Selebi trial
Selebi's journey with the law
Taxpayers fork over funds for Selebi - Mulder
By Jenni O'Grady and Miranda Andrew
After a four-and-a-half year investigation, and two-and-a-half years since charges were first laid, former police commissioner Jackie Selebi will have one more sleep to find out whether his reputation is saved, or in tatters.
Reading from a thick lever arch file, Judge Meyer Joffe spent Thursday recapping the vast amount of evidence presented to him by the defence and the prosecution in the Johannesburg High Court. It included an application for his own recusal and an application to have the matter struck off the roll.
It began with newspaper reports that Selebi may face charges of corruption and defeating and obstructing the administration of justice for allegedly receiving money from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, from the account of slain mining boss Brett Kebble, in exchange for favours.
The former Interpol boss allegedly shared secret information with Agliotti, which included a British intelligence report on Agliotti, who was also a police informer. Selebi was allegedly also supposed to intervene in the planned prosecution of Hyundai boss Billy Rautenbach.
Selebi has denied all the charges against him, claiming they were "cooked up". He claims the Directorate of Special Operations, or the Scorpions, plotted against him because he wanted them dissolved and a new investigative unit formed in the police instead, in line with a call by the ruling ANC at the time.
The Scorpions had since been dissolved and a new unit called the Hawks established.
Joffe injected his trademark dry humour by quipping that Selebi also denied wearing a Springbok rugby jersey at an account of a meeting presented during the evidence.
He said the court would have to determine whether the relationship between the Selebi and Agliotti was "generally corrupt" and would have to determine who was telling the truth, given the contradictions in evidence.
"That's why the impression of witnesses is important and the court had to apply its mind to... the credibility of witnesses, the reliability and the probability," said Joffe.
If the court found the accused's version reasonably true, that was grounds for an acquittal, said Joffe as Selebi leaned forward to take in the summary, with his family and friends sitting in the row behind him.
When asked on arrival at the court how he felt, Selebi merely shrugged and said "just okay".
Sitting by himself at the far end of the passage on a battered chair usually used by security officials, was lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
He graciously asked that he not be quoted on how he felt ahead of one of the key judgments of his career. At the height of the investigation he was briefly arrested by police as bitterness between the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and police grew.
The court also heard how the NPA had battled to get documents from Selebi's colleagues during the investigation. The decision to go ahead with the case eventually led to the sacking of NPA head Vusi Pikoli, and created tension with then president Thabo Mbeki who had been concerned about a backlash by Selebi's colleagues.
Pausing occasionally to take a sip of water for his dry throat, Joffe spoke about gifts given to Selebi by Agliotti as he painted a picture of the relationship between the two to determine who was telling the truth.
Agliotti had testified that he and the accused, who he sometimes called "Jax", would go shopping in Sandton, Johannesburg, and meet for coffee.
Agliotti testified he bought two pairs of shoes for Selebi, items from London as well as clothing for his family.
He said Agliotti claimed to have bought a Gucci bag for Selebi's wife Anne, and that he had provided receipts of purchases he had made from a Sandton shopping centre.
Agliotti said he had bought Selebi's sons items from clothing company Fubu. Selebi's version was that he did not wear Fubu and neither did his children.
The two stories were completely different. Joffe noted the defence had limited its attack to the credibility of only Agliotti and his former fiance Dianne Muller, which he felt was "not good".
Joffe read evidence that Agliotti denied asking Selebi for protection, and did not even ask for help with traffic offences, and that he never bribed the accused.
If he did, he said he would have got a bulletproof vest, continued Joffe.
The evidence included tales of a cigarette and drug smuggling network, furtive meetings in shopping centre parking lots, wads of cash being handed around, a plot to smear Mbeki in favour of Jacob Zuma, allegedly funded by German businessman Jurgen Kogl, cellphones mysteriously inactive on the day Kebble was murdered and bombs planted at a Microsoft office to get a security contract.
In closing arguments the state said Selebi had also failed to explain how he had accessed cash, mainly US dollars.
Joffe adjourned proceedings until 9.30am on Friday. - Sapa
Comments by Sonny
Byleveld has his fair well (send-off/birthday) party on Saturday 3 July 2010 and Selebi, the man who promoted him, has his judgement!
Their paths are about to part here!
Who will end up the "victor!"
Political rhetoric is a sad thing!
Happy birthday Piet Byleveld!
Jaap Marais would have been very proud of YOU.
Both will end up with their own legacy and autobiography.