‘Arrest order’ for Interpol head
South African prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Commissioner of Police Jackie Selebi, reports say.
Mr Selebi is the current head of the international police body, Interpol.
He has not been arrested, and his spokeswoman said she knew nothing of the warrant. The National Prosecuting Authority has not commented.
Opposition parties have highlighted Mr Selebi’s reported criminal links and say if reports of the warrant are true, he should be suspended from his post.
Previous press reports have linked Mr Selebi to Glenn Agliotti, who was arrested last year in connection with the murder of leading businessman Brett Kebble.
The warrant for Mr Selebi’s arrest was reportedly issued by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which operates independently from the South African Police Services, the regular police force headed by Mr Selebi.
The NPA has not publicly confirmed the issuing of a warrant.
Reports say the NPA issued the warrant last week, before chief prosecutor Vusi Pikoli was suspended from his duties by President Thabo Mbeki.
The role of the NPA’s Special Investigations Unit, known as the Scorpions, and its relationship with the police has been the subject of intense political controversy in South Africa over the past four years.
Mr Pikoli’s suspension followed reports of disagreement with Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla over the role of the NPA and the Scorpions in the prosecution of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma on charges of corruption.
But Friday’s Mail & Guardian newspaper suggested that Mr Pikoli’s suspension resulted from his failure to inform his political superiors of moves to investigate Mr Selebi.
Political commentator Adam Habib said Mr Mbeki would have to deal decisively with the latest claims.
« If there’s a link [between Mr Pikoli’s suspension and investigations into Mr Selebi] this will have serious implications, because the constitution says the NPA must be free and independent of political interference, » he said.
Diane Kohler-Barnard, spokeswoman for the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said that if the reports of the warrant proved to be true and the case were not pursued, « it will become quite clear that Advocate Pikoli’s suspension was as a direct result of his decision to pursue and prosecute the commissioner ».
« The DA has for the past year called for the suspension of Commissioner Selebi following allegations of his connections to underworld figures and of the NPA investigating him, » Ms Kohler-Barnard’s statement continues.
« If reports are accurate the fact that a warrant was obtained is to be welcomed as there are several outstanding questions around the commissioner’s actions and relationship with his colleagues which can only be answered in a court of law. »
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) called for Mr Selebi’s suspension from his duties.
« There have been rumours for years about Jackie Selebi’s links to Glenn Agliotti and organised crime, » said ACDP Deputy Chairperson Jo-Ann Downs said.
« Perhaps an investigation will finally answer those questions. »
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/09/28 10:59:23 GMT