Trial starts for crime intelligence officer accused of illegal interception

Former captain, Bongani Cele, is appearing in the Specialised Commercials Crimes Court.

Picture: iStock.

PRETORIA - The trial of a former crime intelligence officer accused of illegally intercepting journalists as well as former police national commissioner Bheki Cele's cellphones has started in Pretoria.

Former captain, Bongani Cele, is appearing in the Specialised Commercials Crimes Court.

He is accused of contravening provisions of the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act.

Cele, who was based in the KwaZulu-Natal covert and general intelligence collection section, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He has, however, admitted that he filed a telephone interception application containing a list of five suspects and seven telephone numbers in November 2010.

First witness, senior detective major general Charles Johnson says the investigation started in 2012 when a crime intelligence counter intelligence operation picked up that the former police chief's cellphone had been intercepted.

He told the court that after studying the interception application, he established that fake names had been used.

Johnson says that Cele's cellphone number, as well as those of two Sunday Times journalists, were listed under these false names.

TRIAL POSTPONED TO SEPTEMBER

The trial has been delayed by a dispute over an affidavit submitted about four years ago.

It's this affidavit his defence attorney is arguing should not be submitted as evidence despite the investigating officer saying the accused confirmed the accuracy of its contents.

The court heard earlier how Cele allegedly submitted fake names in an interception application, supposedly for a fraud and corruption investigation.

The matter has been postponed to September.