Selebi Trial: Muller, the tough one
- Mark Allix
- 05 Nov 2009 06:39 (South Africa)
Defence counsel Jaap Cilliers clawed back some ground during a second day of cross-examination of Glenn Agliotti’s former fiancée, Dianne Muller. But he incurred the wrath of the forthright blonde when he said Jackie Selebi denied ever taking money from the ostensible drug lord. She then looked Selebi straight in the eye, and called him a liar.
Muller ran a company called Mavericks in Midrand, where she said envelopes of cash were handed by Agliotti to the former top cop. In probing Muller's ability to recall events, Cilliers suggested the initials "JS" could have stood for John Stratton, the fugitive former right-hand man of murdered mining magnate Brett Kebble.
Agliotti was a frequent presence at Mavericks, and never had an office of his own, Muller said. She acknowledged she often paid Agliotti's bills, including for cellphone, medical care and overseas trips, for which she was refunded by a company called Care Products, owned by Agliotti's ex-wife. Muller's father, Martin Flint, oversaw the accounts at Mavericks as its financial director and also signed cash cheques for alleged payments to Selebi from Agliotti’s front company, Spring Lights. Flint, who is also a witness for the prosecution, said in a statement that he never knew Agliotti had paid Selebi until after Agliotti's arrest. And Muller said her elderly and "forgetful" father talked about a R10,000 payment to a retired policeman who had crashed his car.
Cilliers tried to show that Muller and her father knew more about the monies in Care Products and Spring Lights than she cared to tell. He said millions of rands passed between these accounts, implying that Muller's relationship with Agliotti was more about money than love. But Muller said she only ever did basic administrative work on Agliotti's behalf, stapling cheques to bank statements and filing them, and left the details to her father. She said she once questioned a payment of R3 million into Care Products that appeared "from nowhere", but was never involved with what Agliotti did with his money. Cilliers then asked her why she carried on providing an "almost secretarial function" to Agliotti in respect of Care Products after their personal relationship had ended, to which Muller replied: "It was friendship . We were never enemies.
"I have no Louis Vuitton... Feel free to come to my house and tell me how I benefited from this relationship?" an indignant Muller asked Cilliers.
Muller said when she and Agliotti were living together between 1995 and 2003, he undertook to pay off her bond, which took him 14 months. At the time, she said Agliotti was not living the high life of the Kebble-Stratton era. When she met him in 1993, she knew him as an importer and exporter of jeans, second-hand clothes and glass mugs and cups.
As Cilliers chipped away, he was careful not to cast aspersions about her relationship with her father.
He raised a dry laugh when he asked Muller: "What was the relationship between you and Flint?"
Muller shot back: "He's my father," forcing Cilliers to rephrase, and ask whether they ever talked about Agliotti and money.
Muller said she always had an open relationship with Flint, but only later realised some payments made on Agliotti's behalf came from Spring Lights and not Care Products.
"The majority of payments were from Care Products. I was very surprised to see payments from Spring Lights."
Flint oversaw the cashing of cheques from Spring Lights for Agliotti ostensibly to pay cash to Selebi in envelopes marked “JS”. Muller said, in running a company of 23 people she let her father take care of accounting details, saying she trusted him implicitly
Cilliers was also careful not to impose on Muller's live-in relationship with Agliotti. But Muller told him invoices for clothing sometimes amounted to more than Agliotti had in his wardrobe. She said she witnessed Agliotti buying clothes for Selebi's children in Sandton, and knew of a handbag bought in the UK for his wife, Ann.
Agliotti has characterised himself as a generous spender who bought presents for his mates and their families.
Lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel then questioned his witness, punctuated by objections from Cilliers that he was, in fact, cross-examining her. Muller's testimony shows she knew of Agliotti's relationships with John Stratton and Brett Kebble, and that Agliotti had bought murder-accused Stratton a car that cost R18,000 a month. She again affirmed that Selebi would leave the Mavericks premises with envelopes marked “JS”, but apart from one payment of R110,000, she did not know what was inside the envelopes.
Judge Meyer Joffe asked Muller detailed questions about what Agliotti had told her he did for a living, and probed the growth of her company, Mavericks, through a BEE deal and the killing of Brett Kebble. "Kebble put the [BEE] deal together with John Stratton and Hennie Buitendag [former financial director of Kebble firms]," Muller told Joffe, who asked for specific dates around this time. She then mentioned one-time Kebble associate, Jurgen Kogl (who also knows Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma well, it seems), who is cited in intelligence reports as saying the Kebbles were paying Jackie Selebi.
By Mark Allix