Corruption-fighter Paul O’Sullivan slams media house for ‘misleading headline’

In this open letter, Paul O’Sullivan confronts an online publication for allegedly defaming him through a headline on Kgomotso Phahlane, the former acting national police commissioner that he says is a false representation of the facts. O’Sullivan, the Founder of Forensics for Justice was pivotal in exposing Phahlane’s criminal activity and corruption, which included an R86m blue lights tender. Phahlane opened a case against O’Sullivan including 34 counts of alleged corruption, fraud and racketeering. In 2017, Phahlane’s case against O’Sullivan was disregarded and struck off the roll. Through O’Sullivan’s investigations, Phalane was eventually probed by independent police watchdog body, IPID and is facing charges of corruption – Bernice Maune. 

By Paul O’Sullivan*

Clearly those that do subscribe to News24, as I do, and therefore read the whole story do not agree with your defamatory headline, which is nothing more or less than the quote of a corrupt ex-police chief’s lawyer, a context which News24 completely failed to put across and yet did not even seek my comment before defaming me yet again. Put simply, the tax-payer is paying for a corrupt cop’s lawyer to deflect the attention away from his crooked clients, who were the cornerstone of State Capture, by defaming me and News24 seem to have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

For the record I am a South African citizen, for the last 30 years, that cares enough about my country to use my very specialised skills, at no cost to the country, in helping to expose and punish those engaged in fraud and corruption that would otherwise bring the country to its knees. My skills have been recognised by governments and others around the world, yet not by main-stream local media it seems.

My desire to use my specialised skills to help my country should be lauded, not criticised by the media. This desire to help, is precisely why I formed the NPC: Forensics for Justice. We only take on cases that are of very high public interest, as is clear from viewing our website.

For years, I have been pilloried in the media, because media either quote criminals, the criminal’s lawyers, or they are journalists that have been paid by the criminals, such as certain journalists at Sunday Times, IOL, ANN7 and New Age. Alternatively, the media have published the lies of dishonest police officials masquerading as ‘police spokesman’, the likes of Mulaudzi and de Beer, who are both paid liars comes to mind. Curiously, the media have remained silent whilst they spew their defamatory lies at tax-payer expense.

What many people in the country have failed to grasp, because I don’t put it out there, is that I have spent well over R20m of my own funds in the last 15 years, to make our country a better place to live. By comparison, since Forensics for Justice was formed, we have received less than R300,000 in donations, because, unlike certain other so-called NPC’s I do not run marketing campaigns aimed at increasing membership subscriptions that bring in millions each month.

I keep my property business interests out of the public domain, but I suffer financial harm from the lop-sided stories sported by click-bait stories. As a result of being declared a PEP in 2016, I had to spend hard-earned money on expensive lawyers in the UK and Switzerland to have the false label removed. The ‘label’ was created by unsavoury elements in the South African media and criminals that conspired with them.

Next year, I will be doing a public raising for one of my property companies and will be seeking GBP50m. I will have to spend extra time and care on the prospectus, to ensure I deal with the lop-sided South African media. If I do not do this, my existing investment of more than ZAR100m in that company will be in jeopardy. Who do you think I should sue, if my public raising fails due to bad media?

Even now if you google my name, there are countless stories, including News24, where I am arrested for this, or that, or in court for this or that. Yet NOT ONE of those stories have been updated to how that I was acquitted and the State was given scathing rebukes by the judges in question. In other words, only the false news is out there.

The media quickly forgot that I was unlawfully dragged off a plane with my two minor children, whilst on my way to a media briefing to bring public attention to State Capture by Zuma cronies. I was detained and tortured for three days and had my passports taken so I could not leave the country. They have also forgotten that my offices have been raided multiple times by crooked cops and Sarah-Jane Trent was kidnapped by crooked cops, had her phone stolen, with fabricated extracts being fed to a dirty journalist at the Sunday Times, Poloko Tau.

Read also: Paul O’Sullivan on war with Phahlane: ‘I’ll expose these criminals with badges’

My submission to the Zondo Commission, which is the narrow field of focus they asked me to sign against, makes it clear who the victim was over here and it certainly was NOT those crooks Phahlane, Mulaudzi, Ncube, Mabula, De Beer, Abrahams, Jiba, Mashuga, Moreane, or any of the other low ethics rubbish in the criminal justice system, that the media seem to think are worth supporting. Regrettably, the evidence leader did not manage to expose the crooks sitting there in front of him, for what they are. Perhaps due to time constraints. These crooks, supported by tax-payer lawyers, who have no regard for the truth, enjoyed support from the media and I am left wondering why.

Over the last few years the media, who repeatedly lay claim to being watchdogs of our constitutional democracy have stood idly by whilst low-life cops and prosecutors have run the largest crime syndicate this country has ever seen and instead have chosen to play down the role of Forensics for Justice, or have sided with the crooks and outright defamed us. There are of course notable exceptions, which includes seasoned journalists at News24 and other publications such as Daily Maverick and The Citizen.

In the words of the Lays Chips ads, ‘No more Mr Nice Guy’. From now on every time the media lose their ethics and defame me, I will attack with the same energy I attacked the dirty cops and prosecutors that tried and failed to hound me over the last 15 years.

The above was merely background, now let me deal with the lop-sided defamatory story in question, which went up two days ago:

Misleading News24 headline:

O’Sullivan’s involvement in IPID probe into Phahlane ‘unacceptable’, state capture hears.

This headline can be seen by the public but the article is for “subscribers” only and therefore the headline is misleading and purports to state this as a fact. Moreover, I was NOT approached for my side of the story, as is customary best practice in journalism.

Using Zuma’s own quote:

During this period we also remind all South Africans that the government will intensify the fight against crime. We invite all law-abiding citizens and visitors to work with us to prevent crime during the holiday season.

On seeing your headline, a friend sent me this:

Food for thought:

In at least two cases the High Courts (of the Witwatersrand and Natal divisions) have in fact expressed their acceptance of the fact that private and workplace investigations may occur with assistance of private persons conducting investigations on behalf of the State [State vs Botha and others (1) 1995(2) SACR 598(W) and State vs. Dube 2000 (1) SACR 53 (N)]. This development created new opportunities for all investigators whether active in private, business, or government service and all indications are that the scope of their activities will increase (Van Rooyen, 2008: 4-5).

Never appealed, never contested by SAPS or NPA, and has been a standing case virtually all citizen aided investigations are premised upon since then from a legal perspective. It stands in our jurisprudence as is.

It has been quoted in a multitude of academic works, other court cases and in publications publicly available. It is what it is.

It is ludicrous to suggest that ordinary citizen, and more so citizens with the skills and means and will to assist law enforcement agencies to prevent and combat serious crimes, would be “improper”. Completely ludicrous.

Suggesting that would mean that anybody able and capable to assist the State to identify crime, identify suspects, identify witnesses, identify evidence, identify the location of witnesses and evidence, obtain such, and facilitate such with investigating officers, should ignore this, look the other way and do nothing about it. That would be the antithesis of what good citizenry in a constitutional developing democracy is all about. Ludicrous.

In fact, such people should be treasured and thanked. And more should be encouraged to do same. How different is it from private companies and individuals assisting the Zondo Commission?

Context also matters. It was mid-State Capture when you did what you did. If you did not step up, the rot may still be continuing to this day.

What Joubert SC is suggesting is things ought to have been left as is then. With a captured criminal justice system running roughshod to counter any move that threatened them. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and cannot understand why the point wasn’t made. What on earth is a Community Policing Forum? What does it mean when our police and leaders say “crime cannot be solved alone and the public must help”?

I also cannot understand how a single journalist has not even googled what a Certified Fraud Examiner is.

The International Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is the largest network of anti-fraud professionals in the world. It has been accredited with the South African Qualifications Authority with NQF level 8 qualification. The Certified Fraud Examiner designation is the first of its kind to be both internationally and locally recognised as the standard for a Forensic Investigator and Forensic Auditor. Certified Fraud Examiners are also required to obtain Continued Professional Education points every year in order to retain your CFE credential.


No doubt you will now consider setting the record straight, unless of course, you want to be lumped in with bad journalism, like the Sunday Times, IOL, ANN7 and New Age.

  • Paul O’Sullivan is founder of Forensics for Justice. 
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