Glenn Agliotti, on trial for the 2005 murder of South African gold magnate Brett Kebble, asked a Johannesburg court to interrupt proceedings to allow him to ask state prosecutors to have his charges dropped.
Judge Frans Kgomo said he will rule tomorrow on whether to grant the convicted drug-dealer time to request that the National Director of Public Prosecutions to scrap the case. Contradictory evidence by witnesses means the case is “unsustainable,” Agliotti’s lawyer, Laurence Hodes, told the South Gauteng High Court today.
“The star witness on whose evidence everything hinges has shot himself in the foot on each key issue so far,” Hodes said after four witnesses who have admitted being involved in Kebble’s killing finished testifying. “The wrong man is standing in the wrong box. The plans do not coincide, the arrangements do not coincide. They do not sustain the charge.”
The state attorney opposed the postponement, saying it was “a waste of time” as the state had a strong case.
Kebble wanted to die rather than take the risk of going to prison on fraud charges stemming from the disappearance of millions of dollars of assets from gold miner Randgold & Exploration Ltd., said Clinton Nassif, Agliotti’s security manager, who told the court during six days of testimony that Kebble asked him and Agliotti to arrange the killing.
Desperate to Die
Kebble helped create two of South Africa’s four biggest gold miners, Harmony Gold Mining Co. and DRDGold Ltd. in the 11 years before his death at the age of 41. Investec Ltd., a bank, and Allan Gray Ltd. pressed for his departure from JCI Ltd., Western Areas Ltd. and Randgold after the assets went missing.
Agliotti and Nassif had done security and logistics work for Kebble, who ordered the duo to shoot Stephen Mildenhall, a fund manager for Cape Town-based Allan Gray. Kebble “was good to us and he looked after us and he was really desperate,” Nassif said, explaining why they helped him get killed.
In a bail application, Agliotti said Kebble’s death was an “assisted suicide.” Agliotti is also charged with conspiring to murder Mildenhall and three mining executives at Kebble’s behest.
Nassif and three others who were part of Kebble’s shooting, agreed to testify against Agliotti in exchange for immunity from prosecution for the same crimes.
Kebble initially considered taking a lethal pill, which would not show up in an autopsy, Nassif said. When his accomplices were unable to find one, he thought of charting an airplane and then engineering a fatal crash before settling on the shooting, which was meant to look like a botched car hijacking, Nassif said.
While Agliotti was not involved in the initial plans to kill Kebble, “he had knowledge of what was going on,” Nassif said.
Nassif repeatedly contradicted his own testimony and previous statements he’d made to the police, Hodes said. While Nassif claimed to be asleep at 9 p.m. on the night of Kebble’s murder, phone records showed he was making calls until over an hour later, Hodes said.
“Your lies are catching up with you,” Hodes said. “It’s doomsday for you.”
Kgomo earlier ruled that Agliotti was no longer under house arrest as a condition of his 200,000 rand ($27,533) bail.
“To keep a man under house arrest for four years is unconstitutional,” Hodes said. “He can’t carry out his work.”
The case is: State versus Agliotti, Norbert Glenn, JPV 2008/264, SS154/2009.