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Interpol boss faces charges, quits

  • Story Highlights
  • Jackie Selebi, South African police chief, takes leave as faces corruption charges
  • Also steps down as head of Interpol, although charges are not related to that position
  • Charged with taking money from a convicted drug smuggler over a 5-year period
  • South African President Thabo Mbeki denies he has been slow in dealing with affair
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(CNN) -- South Africa's embattled police commissioner resigned Sunday as president of Interpol, a day after he took an extended leave of absence from his police duties, the international crime-fighting agency said in a statement.

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South Africa police commissioner Jackie Selebi, facing charges of corruption, has stepped down as boss of Interpol.

Interpol's Secretary-General Ronald Noble received a resignation letter on Sunday from Jackie Selebi, who is facing charges of corruption related to his role as police commissioner, the agency said.

The charges are not related to his leadership role in Interpol.

In the letter, Selebi said he was resigning because he did not wish the allegations against him "to bring the good work of this august body into disrepute."

"Based on my experience of working with Mr. Selebi in his capacity as delegate, vice president and ultimately president of the organization, he has always conducted himself and acted in a way to enhance global security and police co-operation worldwide," Noble said in a statement.

As to the charges Selebi faces, Noble said: "Any such allegations should be prosecuted thoroughly, and the proper manner is for charges to be brought promptly before a court of law and not through media leaks and speculation."

On Saturday, South African President Thabo Mbeki told a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, that Selebi had been given an "extended leave of absence" from his police duties, but that he was not being sacked.

Mbeki said Selebi supported the decision -- taken midnight Friday and effective immediately -- to temporarily step down and that an acting commissioner had already been appointed to take his place.

The National Prosecuting Authority said it will charge the police chief with "corruption and defeating the administration of justice," Tladi Tladi, a spokesman for the agency told CNN.

According to widespread media reports, the upcoming charges hinge on Selebi's dealings with Glen Agliotti, a convicted drug smuggler.

The suspended police chief is alleged to have accepted at least 1.2 million Rand ($177,000) from Agliotti over a 5-year period, the South African daily Cape Argus reported.

In return Selebi allegedly handed over confidential intelligence reports from the British authorities relating to Agliotti's suspected drug-trafficking activities, according to the newspaper.

Tladi said the corruption charges were linked to Agliotti "to a certain extent."

Agliotti recently received a 10-year suspended prison sentence in a drug case after entering into a plea bargain. He is also accused of involvement in the 2005 killing of mining magnate Brett Kebble, according to South African media reports.

A court on Friday rejected an application to halt the prosecution by Selebi, who has been under investigation for around two years.

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Mbeki denied that he had been too slow in dealing with the fallout from the charges.

"I have said many times that if there was anyone who came to me with information indicating that the national commissioner had behaved improperly then I would act on such information. No one has come to me with such information," Mbeki said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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