RIGHT OF REPLY: O’Sullivan claims Carte Blanche, not he, misled on Codeine ring.

In this Right of Reply, forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan expresses deep dissatisfaction with the South African investigative journalism television programme, Carte Blanche, explicitly targeting its handling of the Hannes Strydom story and the BizNewsTV interview with producer Nicky Troll. O’Sullivan, whose firm was appointed by Strydom to investigate fraud and theft against his business, accuses Carte Blanche of sensationalism and gullibility, claiming it provided a platform for criminals and overlooked critical aspects of a massive codeine theft and black market operation. Despite initially focusing on fraud against Strydom, O’Sullivan’s firm later found Strydom himself possibly involved in illegal drug sales, leading to a termination of its investigative mandate. Two days later, Strydom was killed in a car accident.

By Paul O’Sullivan*

I cannot say I was shocked by your interview with Carte Blanche sub-contracted producer Nicky Troll. It’s the sort of thing I expect from Carte Blanche.

One would have thought by now they would have learned their lesson by not insulting my intelligence, as they and their lawyers have repeatedly done.

CARTE BLANCHE – NICKY TROLL INTERVIEW

Nicky Troll publicly stated that I allowed myself to be misled, and she feels for me. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is that Carte Blanche was duped by criminals into giving them a platform to create a red herring for their own criminal conduct.

Anchor witnesses in the story Carte Blanche ran in October were involved in theft on a massive scale and, through that theft plied millions of Rand of codeine into the black market, a fact Carte Blanche somehow missed in their sensational story during the Rugby World Cup.

I said it before, and I’m saying it again: “Shame on you, Carte Blanche!”

Shame on Carte Blanche for giving a platform to the criminals who worked with and against Hannes Strydom and stole millions from him so they could try and convince the country of their innocence.

My firm was appointed to investigate fraud and theft against Strydom from July 2022, NOT the alleged unlawful sales of codeine-based cough mixture. We discovered who was involved in the fraud and theft whilst Carte Blanche gave them a platform to create red herrings for their crimes.

So, in answer to the false allegation of Carte Blanche, we allowed ourselves to be misled. No way!

Were Carte Blanche gullible and allowed themselves to grant a public platform to criminals? Yes, they were 100% gullible and fell for it, hook, line and sinker, in their quest for sensational viewership during the rugby World Cup. It’s not my function to judge the living or the dead. However, if Hannes Strydom was breaking the law, and it now seems he may have been, he will be held accountable.

CARTE BLANCHE – THE HANNES STRYDOM, CODEINE STORY

The reality is that my fraud and forensic practice was mandated by Hannes Strydom to investigate fraud and theft, NOT to clear his name of under-the-counter sales of scheduled medicines. We did NOT investigate that aspect at all, as it was not part of our mandate.

Whilst we were investigating the fraud and theft, Carte Blanche ran a story on codeine sales. Until they intervened, we were unaware of the allegations and were NOT investigating same, as we were focussed on a fraud and theft syndicate.

We instantly saw that the people engaged in stealing millions of rands from Pharma Valu were the anchor interviewees on the Carte Blanche slot. We were immediately contacted by an ex-employee of Hannes Strydom, who was keen to tell us what he knew, under oath, about Carte Blanche’s anchor witnesses and their criminal conduct.

We exposed Carte Blanche’s gullibility by pushing Hannes Strydom into an interview with you on BizNews TV so we could draw attention to the criminals to whom Carte Blanche gave a platform.

Subsequently, we discovered that Hannes Strydom himself was involved in under-the-counter sales of codeine and put specific questions to him, which he did not answer. We terminated the mandate with Hannes Strydom a week later because he refused to respond to our questions.

Our termination of the mandate with Hannes Strydom does NOT change the fact that Carte Blanche gave a platform to criminals to push their own version of the truth, which was a lie. In all probability, the Carte Blanche witnesses were part and parcel of a broader grouping, including Hannes Strydom, that was selling products unlawfully. However, the value of the sales by the Carte Blanche witnesses ran into millions of rands, and the income never found its way back to the bank accounts of Pharma Valu, thereby constituting theft and fraud.

Hopefully, Carte Blanche will one day re-find their moral compass, get back to good, honest journalism, and stop misleading the people of this country with their sensational headline-grabbing stories.

Until then, Channel 101 on a Sunday night is NOT a channel I would watch, as I don’t support biased, reckless journalism.

* Paul O’Sullivan is the founder of Forensics For Justice

  • Ahead of the publication of this Right of Reply, Carte Blanche executive producer John Webb responded as follows: “Mr O’Sullivan is not exercising his right of reply in this tirade; he’s avoiding the extent to which the narrative presented in his initial interview with you has been contradicted by your discussion with the insert’s producer. His statement brushes over the codeine investigation save for an admission that he severed ties with Mr. Strydom.”