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Corruption cases highlight ANC, Scorpions feud

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) — The embattled police commissioner in South Africa appeared in court Friday in a case that casts light on a controversy between the country’s ruling political party and an elite anti-crime squad.

The case against Jackie Selebi, who is on leave as police commissioner, unfolds against the backdrop of a feud between the African National Congress and a squad known as the Scorpions, which was formed about 10 years ago to combat corruption and organized crime.

After a recent Scorpions investigation of African National Congress leaders, the party announced plans to disband the unit and assign its members to the national police force. Critics say the politicians were retaliating against the Scorpions for investigating figures including Selebi and Jacob Zuma, recently elected president of the African National Congress — a charge the ANC denies.

Prosecutors have told CNN they plan to charge Selebi with corruption and pereverting the course of justice. But he has not been formally charged with a crime, said Tlali Tlali, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa.

When Selebi appeared in court Friday, authorities postponed the case until June 26 so they could continue their investigation, Tlali said.

In the case involving Zuma, investigators with the Scorpions recently raided Zuma’s house and carted away several boxes.

Prosecutors charged Zuma last month with corruption, fraud and money laundering. They acted just days after voters chose him to lead the African National Congress — an election that means he’s likely to become president of South Africa next year.

Gwede Mantashe, secretary general of the ANC, said it makes sense to integrate the Scorpions into the country’s police force.

Once you remove the investigating unit to where it rightfully belongs, you are actually removing the source of tension, he told CNN. Therefore the focus will be on fighting crime.

Xolela Mangcu, a political analyst and author, took a different view.

It should be really a question of whether the Scorpions work or not. If they work, we should retain them, he said. But you can’t just change institutions willy nilly simply because at one particular moment they don’t serve your political end. E-mail to a friend

CNN’s Robyn Curnow contributed to this report

Corruption cases highlight ANC, Scorpions feud – found here.

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February 1, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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