LYON, France – The president of Interpol has resigned because he faces allegations of corruption in his native South Africa.
Jackie Selebi, South Africa’s national police commissioner, says he is stepping down because he doesn’t want the allegations to sully Interpol’s reputation.
Interpol says the allegations against Selebi have nothing to do with his role of president, or the organization’s work.
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority announced plans Friday to charge Selebi with corruption, accusing him of trying to protect a convicted drug smuggler.
On Saturday, South African President Thabo Mbeki said he granted Selebi’s request for extended leave as commissioner.
Selebi said he wanted to devote his energies to clearing his name.
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, the top official at the Lyon, France-based organization, praised Selebi’s professionalism.
Selebi “has always conducted himself and acted in a way to enhance global security and police co-operation worldwide,” he said in a statement.
Noble said any charges against Selebi should be “brought promptly” so that a full investigation can be carried out.