NPA confirms it will charge Selebi

APPLICATION: Tlali Tlali. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 14/01/08. © Sowetan.
APPLICATION: Tlali Tlali. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 14/01/08. © Sowetan.

Simon Nare and Sapa

Simon Nare and Sapa

Despite being ready for months to charge national Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi with corruption, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) yesterday remained mum on what was causing the delay to take action.

NPA top brass reportedly met on Monday but by yesterday had still not served Selebi with the indictment.

Selebi's lawyer Wynanda Coetzee said her office had not heard from NPA acting head Mokotedi Mpshe.

"We left messages at Mpshe's office early yesterday morning but we have not had any response from him yet," she said.

"We are getting the impression that maybe they are not yet ready to proceed or maybe they are working on some other plan."

She said she expected the NPA to have contacted them already as it had publicly said Selebi would be charged this week. On Friday, Selebi launched an unsuccessful application to stop the NPA arresting or charging him.

A full bench is yet to sit to hear the application.

NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali said yesterday: "Notwithstanding a pending court application, the NPA has decided to proceed with instituting charges. We will not provide further details at this stage."

The presidency yesterday moved to defend President Thabo Mbeki for not taking earlier action against Selebi, who has been granted extended leave.

Mbeki had acted "immediately" when he learnt the NPA was ready to proceed with action against Selebi, his legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi said yesterday.

A letter written to Mbeki in May last year by suspended director of public prosecutions Vusi Pikoli contained information about the allegations against Selebi.

But on Saturday Mbeki denied that anyone had provided him with information indicating wrongdoing on Selebi's part.

"I have said this before, many times, that if there was anybody who has information that shows that national Commissioner Selebi has done wrong things I would act on it. Nobody did, nobody came to me," Mbeki said.

Gumbi said yesterday: "The report was sent to the president to ask for assistance in investigations into allegations only."

The letter did not say the NPA was ready to proceed with prosecution. The president could not act on allegations only, she said.