'Police refused to give papers to the Scorpions'

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The head of the Scorpions in Gauteng, Gerrie Nel, yesterday related how the SAPS top brass had sent them from pillar to post when the unit tried to get access to "top secret" documents.

Nel, who was testifying before the Ginwala commission of inquiry, said they needed the documents for their investigation of national Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

He said even after they had obtained permission from President Thabo Mbeki to get the documents, the police chiefs still refused to cooperate with the Scorpions.

Nel was testifying at the inquiry investigating the suitability of suspended NPA chief Vusi Pikoli to hold office.

The commission concluded its public hearings yesterday and is expected to submit its report to Mbeki at the end of next month.

Nel said after the Scorpions had identified Selebi as a crime suspect in March last year, the process to secure certain documents began. When the police failed to cooperate, Pikoli informed both Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla and Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula.

During a three-a-side meeting led by former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy, and Deputy Commissioner Ray Lalla, on the SAPS side, on May 18, the police still refused to hand over the documents, despite Mbeki's approval and their own undertaking.

"Commissioner Tim Williams said we can go to the high court, he was not prepared to hand over the documents," said Nel.

Williams, now acting national commissioner, said they had no mandate to hand over documents.