Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 6 News List

South African top cop investigated


South Africa's national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, is under investigation after it was revealed that he maintained a close friendship with an organized crime boss recently arrested over the murder of a corrupt mining magnate.

The revelation follows a damning series of accusations against the national police commissioner, who is also president of the international police organization, Interpol.

The latest controversy centers on the murder of Brett Kebble, a corrupt South African mining magnate who was shot six times in his Mercedes last year by a team of assassins. The motive is not yet known but Kebble stole millions of pounds from his mining companies and had close ties to criminal syndicates.

On Nov. 16 the Scorpions arrested Glen Agliotti, a man described in police files as the head of a multimillion dollar drug syndicate and other organized crime rackets, for allegedly organizing the murder. Agliotti not only worked for Kebble but is a longstanding friend of Selebi.

They were so close that within minutes of Kebble's death Agliotti called the police commissioner on his mobile phone. Both men say there was nothing sinister about their conversation.

Selebi said Agliotti had driven to the site of the killing while Kebble was still slumped behind the wheel of his car and then called the police commissioner to request an investigation.

Selebi said his meetings with Agliotti proved nothing.

"Does that mean anyone who has an appointment with him is a criminal?" Selebi said.

"I have never been in discussion with him about criminality. I do not know if he is involved," he said.

But Selebi's claims not to have known that Agliotti was a leading figure in the criminal underworld have met with incredulity since his rackets were the subject of police investigations.

Questions about the handling of the Kebble murder investigation had already been raised after it was revealed that the police handed over the car to the head of his security firm, Clint Nassif, immediately after the murder and before forensic tests could be done.

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