Interference alleged

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Parliament must grill President Thabo Mbeki over his alleged "political interference" in the work of the Scorpions.

Mbeki should also explain why he suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Vusi Pikoli.

This is the call from the DA's parliamentary leader, Sandra Botha, yesterday as the crisis over Pikoli's suspension intensified.

Botha said she will ask the speaker of the national assembly Baleka Mbete today to recall parliament to sit within the next few days so that MPs can question both Mbeki and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla about the events which saw Pikoli suspended from his job.

The call from Botha comes after newspaper reports that Pikoli had obtained a warrant for the arrest of national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

It relates to charges of racketeering, corruption, defeating the ends of justice and being an accessory after the fact to the murder of mining tycoon Brett Kebble. The report indicated that some of the charges relate to Selebi's friendship with Glenn Agliotti, the alleged organised crime boss who has been accused of Kebble's murder.

Botha said she wants to know whether a warrant for Selebi exists; whether Pikoli's suspension was a result of his desire to prosecute Selebi; whether Mbeki placed "undue pressure" on Pikoli to pursue a case against Jacob Zuma; and whether there has been any undue "political interference" to protect Selebi from formal investigation; and "whether the president will allow a criminal investigation to go ahead, free from any political interference, against Jackie Selebi, most particularly his strong links to Glenn Agliotti and being an accessory after the fact to the murder of Brett Kebble".

Botha said this cannot wait for the commission headed by former national assembly speaker, Frene Ginwala

Pikoli could not be reached for comment yesterday. NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali repeated earlier statements that the NPA leadership has called on staff to be calm. He said he could not comment about "Selebi's imminent arrest".