Since last year’s murder of the South African mining mogul Brett Kebble, a much bigger web of criminal influence reaching into the higher levels of law enforcement, government and business has begun to unfold.
Glenn Agliotti, a business associate of Kebble and friend of national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, faces charges of murder and conspiracy to murder Kebble.
Kebble was gunned down while driving his car through a Johannesburg suburb in September 2005.
Four weeks before his murder, Kebble had been forced to resign as CEO of the mining companies JCI, Randgold & Exploration and Western Areas (WARJF-O, WAR-J). A regulatory filing of Randgold Resources (RRS-L, GOLD-Q) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission found that R&E had just a 6.7% interest in the company, not the 31% stake it had claimed.
South Africa’s Directorate of Special Operations is still investigating the covert sale of shares and the siphoning off of the proceeds shortly before Kebble’s death, which are suspected to be more than US$225 million and could provide motive for Kebble’s murder.
The DSO has released little information about any Kebble-related investigations.
Cell phone records showed that Agliotti and Selebi spoke to each a number of times near the murder scene. Agliotti also spoke to Kebble several times before he was killed.
Agliotti has said he worked as a consultant for JCI, securing trade opportunities and raising funds for projects.
Agliotti also allegedly played a role in a smuggling syndicate and was allegedly involved in a US$2.5 million worth of fraudulent cobalt deals.
Reports have indicated that Agliotti’s arrest was based on tip-offs from Kebble’s former security guard Clint Nassif and three Johannesburg gang figures that were accomplice witnesses in the crime.
Nassif, currently out on bail in an insurance fraud case, was also a close associate of Agliotti, and is likely to testify against him. Nassif’s security company employed an ex-cop with whom he supposedly arranged for the premature release of Kebble’s car from police custody the day after the murder so it could be cleaned. It is unclear whether the car was cleaned or not before the forensic police unit had finished examining it.
Shortly before Kebble was killed, he became a “born again” Christian after years of receiving spiritual guidance from a friend. There is a wild theory that Kebble had ordered an assisted suicide, not knowing how to deal with his crumbling business empire, but the date was brought forward without Kebble’s knowledge. Co-conspirators may have wanted to gain control of substantial funds that they were in the process of laundering for Kebble.