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FORMER police chief Jackie Selebi would have been "astonished" to be offered improper payments by druglord Glenn Agliotti, the high court in Johannesburg heard yesterday.
The claim, by defence lawyer Jaap Cilliers, came as his cross examination of Agliotti continued in Selebi's corruption trial.
"If you bring money to the accused he would have reacted in a way to show that he was astonished by your conduct, and would take exception to your conduct and may have had you arrested," Cilliers said. "You knew that," he added.
Cilliers was questioning Agliotti on why, after he had made a deal with the Scorpions, he did not set up a "controlled payment" or "conversation" with Selebi to provide independent evidence of Selebi's alleged corruption.
"I was not going to compromise him," Agliotti said.
He and Selebi used to be friends.
Cilliers said Selebi also denied ever taking R30000 from Agliotti to host a dinner to garner votes for his election as Interpol head.
"The accused absolutely refused to have such a dinner and said he would rather not be elected than to have a dinner. He refused to lobby in any way," Cilliers said.
Selebi served as Interpol president from 2004 until last year when he resigned after being suspended over the graft allegations for which he is on trial.
Agliotti yesterday also gave the court an additional explanation for inconsistencies in his testimony and earlier statement to police.
Previously he had admitted that he lied on occasion. Yesterday he said his memory also sometimes failed him.
"You take your mind back and you try and remember as much as you can. There have been inconsistencies in my statement. They are not intentional."
Cilliers pointed out that there was a discrepancy between two statements Agliotti made in January 2008, one to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the other to the Scorpions.
In the NIA statement Agliotti said: "I maintained all along that I never bribed Selebi."
In the later one to the Scorpions, he said: "I have never maintained that I never bribed Selebi."
Agliotti said the change came after his lawyer explained the legal definition of bribery.
Cilliers put it to him that this explanation was a lie and the later statement a "concocted version".
"As you sit right there in court you look at the honourable court in the eye and you still lie ... You must be careful ... Mr Agliotti. There is a man's life dependent on the truthfulness of the witness."
Agliotti has made a deal with the state in the Selebi case and will receive indemnity from prosecution on charges including corruption, money laundering, racketeering and defeating the ends of justice if he testifies "frankly and honestly".
He made it clear yesterday that his memory could not be jogged to remember exactly how many payments he made to Selebi or what the amount of each payment was.
"How many payments for R30000 or R5000 or R10000 I made. I cannot remember ... I did not keep a running log," he said
Today the court's attention will turn to determining the admissibility of a 2008 video recording of a meeting between Agliotti and NIA representatives. - Sapa