Hawks cop & senior State advocate arrested for corruption

By Chris Steyn

A Hawks cop and a senior State advocate are among three people arrested for corruption following a private investigation by certified fraud examiner Paul O’Sullivan.

They are Captain Lucky Thabethe of the Directorate of Priority Crimes at Germiston Police Station, Senior State Advocate Phuti Matabane, and Daniel Benjamin Lessing, a former Regional Manager of Interwaste (Pty) Ltd.

In a sworn statement made by O’Sullivan he describes how he had been mandated by Interwaste to investigate allegations of fraud and theft by Lessing because the State had declined to prosecute him.

This after Interwaste had opened a criminal case against Lessing and others for the alleged fraud and theft of about R6,356,400.00.

The decision not to prosecute was taken by Matabane, a Senior State Advocate with the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit of the NPA.

O’Sullivan then met with one of the other people against whom Interwaste had laid charges.

That person provided him with evidence that Lessing had paid for a weekend hunting trip for himself, Thabethe and Matabane.  

He also informed O’Sullivan that Lessing had provided Thabethe with a large sum of money prior to the trip.

O’Sullivan then convinced him to make a sworn statement.

In O’Sullivan’s statement, he explains that this person had not reported the matter prior to making the sworn statement because Lessing clearly had corrupt relationships with a police officer and a senior State advocate and any criminal docket opened would either be unlawfully closed and withdrawn, or worse, he would be killed by Lessing or somebody instructed by Lessing.

In that person’s statement, he describes “secretive dealings” between himself, Lessing and Interwaste “until somebody at Interwaste must have figured out what was going on” and a criminal investigation was launched. Interwaste were clearly the victim here.

Although he was concerned at the time that there might be some trouble, Lessing “seemed confident at all times that the matter would go away”.

He recalls how during the investigation Lessing informed him that he had paid a visit to the investigating officer at Germiston Police Station and paid the officer about R60 000 to R80 000 in cash.

In a supplemental statement, the person states that Lessing “paid a lot of money and certain gratuities to various individuals for his own personal gain”. He recalls Lessing telling him that he had paid an employee in the Procurement Department of Sasol R40 000 in cash.

According to O’Sullivan, whenever the State declines to prosecute stating that it is a civil matter, he sees this as a big red flag for corruption. He is also concerned about other cases, the same cop and prosecutor have ‘declined’ to bring to trial and is going to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions, to re-open all the cases in question.

The trio are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court today.

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