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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 January 2008, 13:42 GMT
S Africa police chief suspended
South Africa's national Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi
Mr Selebi's attempt to stop prosecution failed on Friday
South African President Thabo Mbeki has suspended police chief Jackie Selebi to face corruption charges.

"We have put the national commissioner of police on extended leave of absence," Mr Mbeki said.

Mr Selebi is alleged to have received $170,000 (90,000) from a convicted criminal over a five-year period.

Mr Selebi - who is also the president of Interpol - has denied allegations of links with organised crime. It is not clear when prosecutors will charge him.

Correspondents say the charges are controversial, with some accusing the prosecutors of playing politics.

'Corrupt relationship'

A court on Friday rejected an urgent application by Mr Selebi, who has been under investigation since last year, to try to stop the prosecution.

I have undertaken that if he is to be charged, he will not be arrested
NPA's Mokotedi Mpshe

A prosecution affidavit refers to a "generally corrupt relationship" between Mr Selebi and local businessman Glen Agliotti.

Agliotti recently received a 10-year suspended prison sentence in a drugs case after entering into a plea bargain.

He is also accused of involvement in the 2005 killing of mining magnate Brett Kebble.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) acting head Mokotedi Mpshe said in court papers that Mr Selebi would not be arrested but agreement would be reached with his lawyer for a court date.

'Political' case

The BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg says the police commissioner is a controversial figure.

For the past year, the opposition Democratic Alliance has been calling for him to resign or be suspended because of his alleged links to criminal activity.

President Mbeki, who is said to be close to Mr Selebi, has consistently resisted calls for his police commissioner to be fired, saying he would not take any action until evidence of any wrongdoing was brought before him.

The NPA also recently charged Mr Zuma, newly elected ANC leader and the party's presidential candidate, with corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

Mr Zuma's supporters reportedly want the Scorpions - an anti-crime unit which works closely with the NPA - to be dissolved and brought under the control of the police, saying the case against him was political.

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