Investigator probing South African police corruption is charged with fraud

Last updated at 12:19 09 January 2008

An investigator probing South African police corruption has been arrested over fraud and perjury charges.

A police spokesman said Gerrie Nel, the law enforcement official leading the investigation into corruption allegations against South Africa's police chief, Jackie Selebi, has been arrested on graft charges (political corruption whereby someone profits personally from the public budget).

The spokesman added the charges included perjury, fraud and "defeating the ends of justice".

Scroll down for more...

Jackie Selebi

Mr Nel, a senior official of the Scorpions elite crime-fighting unit, was arrested at his home on Tuesday night.

He has led the investigation into Jackie Selebi, an ally of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The Selebi investigation has the potential to damage South Africa's reputation at a time when it is trying to persuade sceptics that it can reduce high levels of violent crime ahead of the 2010 soccer World Cup, which it will host.

Selibi, who is also the president of Interpol, has been accused of downplaying the severity of the country's crime problem and has raised eyebrows by acknowledging his friendship with convicted drug smuggler Glenn Agliotti.

Agliotti has been charged with the 2005 murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble. Nel was a member of the team that investigated the gangland-style shooting.

The charges against Nel are said to date back to a trial three years ago in which he testified against a member of the Scorpions.

Mbeki has stood by Selebi despite calls by the opposition for his dismissal, prompting allegations he was being protected for political reasons.

The spokesman said Nel's arrest would "certainly not" influence the decision on whether to charge Selebi over corruption.