Paul O’Sullivan: SAPS and Hawks chiefs MUST GO after lifestyle audit shock

Ace forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan says SAPS National Commissioner Fannie Masemola and Hawks boss Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya are unfit for service as both failed a lifestyle audit he conducted. He has written to president Cyril Ramaphosa urging the immediate suspension of SA’s two top cops pending a formal investigation. In this interview with BizNews, O’Sullivan details his findings – and warns he will approach the court to remove the two if the president fails to act. According to O’Sullivan, Masemola was in a “parlous” financial state back in March 2022, but has gone from living beyond his means to having cleared all of his outstanding debt, save for the two outstanding judgments, while Lebeya had a judgment for a R3,125,848.23 tax debt registered against him at the High Court in Johannesburg on 2023-05-05. O’Sullivan also spells out the legal reasons why Lebeya’s appointment was “unlawful”.  “Anywhere else in the world, these people would be in jail,” he charges.

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:25 – National commissioner
  • 13:56 – What responses have you received from your letters?
  • 15:35  What have you asked them to do about the National commissioner?
  • 19:01 – How optimistic are you of them acting?
  • 20:39 – Conclusion

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Highlight from the interview

Forensic investigation consultant Paul O’Sullivan has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to urge the urgent suspension – pending removal – of both the National Commissioner and the Head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI/The Hawks).

This after he did Lifestyle Analysis on General Fannie Masemola and Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya.

In this interview with BizNews, O’Sullivan details his findings – and warns of court action to remove the two if the president fails to act.

In his letter to Ramaphosa (see PDF below), O’Sullivan states: “Having known what a parlous financial state Masemola had back in March 2022, I decided to carry out an updated Lifestyle Analysis.

“I was shocked to find that he has gone from living beyond his means, to having cleared all of his outstanding debt, save for the two outstanding judgments and now seems to have a lifestyle much better than what he had as of March 2022. In the last 21 months, Masemola’s monthly outgoings to service loans have reduced from R68,000 to R56,000.

“The ineluctable conclusion is that he has been handsomely rewarded for letting crime syndicates take over our country, and allowing the police service to drop its standards even further, to the extent where lazy or corrupt police officials now heavily outnumber the brave men and woman that want to do their job with pride.”

Dealing with Lebeya, O’Sullivan informs Ramaphosa that a judgment for a R3,125,848.23 tax debt was registered against The Hawks boss at the High Court in Johannesburg on 2023-05-05 (See PDF below)

“Since the DPCI are responsible for law enforcement on high profile matters, it is inconceivable that General Lebeya would be able to retain his security clearance, until he has dealt with the SARS issue. Not least because he has personally (publicly) commented in the media on certain high value tax fraud cases.”

O’Sullivan also points out that Lebeya is “unlawfully occupying” the position of National Head of DPCI. 

“Lebeya was appointed on or about 2018-05-24. His ID No. 610916………, making him 62 years of age right now. The act is specific that the National Head of DPCI appointment MUST be for a period of NOT less than SEVEN years, nor more than TEN years. SEVEN years from 2018-05-24, will bring us to 2025-05-23, at which time Lebeya would be at the age of 64 years.

“That age is part of the problem, (but not the whole problem) as it means he would have been obliged to retire before the end of SEVEN years, meaning his appointment was unlawful, as his appointment would have taken him well past his 62nd birthday and therefore could ONLY have been lawful with the consent of Parliament. Since it was your cabinet that APPROVED his appointment, they did not apply their minds. If they had applied their minds, they would have realised that his appointment would take him past his 64th birthday and would therefore have required parliamentary approval, which approval cannot lawfully have been done retrospectively.”

Commenting on Masemola’s case, O’Sullivan tells BizNews that he has “always been a bit worried” about the National Commissioner. “I think he knows it because he sent a message to me through a third party that I should back off. And you know, when somebody does that, it’s a red rag to a bull. So at the time he was appointed, I was of the opinion that he was not a fit and proper person to be the chief of police and he’s proven that.

“At the time he was appointed, I was able to show that he was living beyond his means. The lifestyle analysis I did on him then demonstrated that he was living beyond his means to the tune of about 20,000 plus minus 20,000 rand a month. And he was also working what I call revolving door loans. So borrow from Peter to pay back Paul, and then take out another loan. Every time he took out a loan, it would be slightly higher. So the situation was just going downhill. Now, I decided to have a look again, because since he’s been appointed the chief of police, crime in South Africa has gone up, not down.”

Speaking about Lebeya’s case, O’Sullivan says: “…when Godfrey Lebeya was appointed, I was quite happy because I’ve known the man for many years, and he always came across to me as a person that was very knowledgeable. He has a doctorate in law, and he was also registered as an advocate. He had a master’s degree. So I was very happy with the fact that he was appointed. But when I decided to have a look at the National Commission of Police, which I did at the end of last year, I also had a look at Godfrey Lebeya, because I thought to myself, well, is it just the police that’s gone south, or is it the Hawks as well? 

“I found that in the two years, or less than two years since his appointment, Godfrey Lebeya has managed to pay off all of his debts. He had lots of debts; they’ve all been paid off. Now, I don’t know how he paid them all off. I imagine he must have been given a really big pay rise because he was living very badly beyond this means. Now he’s living a good lifestyle. It doesn’t appear that he’s living beyond this means, but the country has gone south in terms of crime, which means he’s not actually focusing on his job.”

As for his huge tax bill, O’Sullivan says: “Now, that’s a problem, because one of the biggest problems we have in South Africa today is fraud-related syndicate crime, which involves money laundering, crimes against…the South African Revenue Service….So all these tax frauds going on out there are investigated by Godfrey Lebeya’s unit. Now, how on earth can you have the head of a unit who was unlawfully appointed in the first place investigating tax crimes when he himself owes the receiver more than 3 million rand?”

Not having received a response from Ramaphosa or his special advisors to his email of 8 January, O’Sullivan has now forwarded it to Deputy President Paul Mashatile. “As Deputy President, perhaps you would be able to get to grips with this situation, as crime is very much bringing this country to its knees,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, O’Sullivan has vowed not to let the matter rest there. “Well, if they don’t act, we’ll be forced to bring a court application to take their conduct on a judicial review because the government are not allowed to knowingly appoint unfit persons into the position of chief of police or to unlawfully appoint somebody into the position of head of Hawks and then do nothing about it when the fact that the guy has got more than a three million rand judgment against him, which, by the way, should automatically result in the cancellation of his security clearance. Now, how can you be head of the Hawks if you don’t have security clearance? It’s just unthinkable. 

“And if you look at the Chief of Police (Masemola), we’re talking about a man that flew overseas on a free journey to look at equipment. And while he was there, got the famous Louis Vuitton bag, and that was given to him by a criminal. Now, when you’ve got a chief of police that gets a Louis Vuitton bag for his wife from a criminal, how are you going to fix crime in the country? 

“Anywhere else in the world, these people would be in jail. And here, they give them a job as chief of police. So I’m of the opinion that they have to fix it, and if they don’t, Forensics for Justice – although we haven’t got much money in the bank – we will start a process to raise funds and bring a court application to have the Chief of Police replaced with a proper leader, somebody that knows how to lead people.”

Should “eminantly suitable” persons replace the two, O’Sullivan also wants to see Police Minister Bheki Cele replaced  with “a person that has no baggage”.

“Now, the police minister also has been riding around in the police jet. And the regulations on the police jet are crystal clear. Civilians are not allowed to go on that police jet. It’s for the use of the Commissioner of Police or the Deputy National Commissioner of Police, and it’s for official use. And yet, Massimola and the minister, who appear to be joined at the hip, go everywhere together on that police jet.”

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