Paul O’Sullivan on court ruling ejecting NPA chief Shaun Abrahams: “Prosecution floodgates will now open.”

LONDON — South Africa’s famous forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan has joined thousands of “the good, honest cops” in celebrating today’s Constitutional Court judgement which ejected the tainted head of the country’s National Prosecuting Authority. He describes the ruling as a watershed in the fight against corruption and State Capture, explains where he will be focusing his attention (hint: wants Shaun The Sheep in jail), and shares his idea of who the best person would be to replace former president Jacob Zuma’s legal shield. – Alec Hogg

This is The Rational Perspective, I’m Alec Hogg. In this episode, SA’s Constitutional Court ejects Shaun ‘The Sheep.’ Well, just 3-years into a proposed 10-year term, SA today ridded itself of the deeply tainted Head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). It ruled that NPA chief Shaun Abrahams, who was catapulted 4-levels from a legal version of the backbenchers to the top job, and should never have been appointed in the first place. His elevation came after former president, Jacob Zuma, paid off the previous NPA head with a R17m golden handshake. According to the Public Prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach in her book, Rule of Law, the appointment of Abrahams was like taking a child, who’s learnt to ride a bicycle with training wheels and giving him a jumbo jet, and then expecting everything to be okay. Shortly after Abrahams took office, the NPA launched a series of unsuccessful actions against Breytenbach, former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and a number of other anti-corruption activists. Among those most affected by Abrahams was Paul O’Sullivan of Forensics for Justice. O’Sullivan describes the former NPA national director and his appointees as ‘criminals with gowns’ and he is determined to see them behind bars.

A watershed decision this morning, Paul.

Yes absolutely Alec, and I think I’ve said it a few weeks ago, it’s my turn now and this reinforces that. I think the tide has turned. Over the last 6-weeks we’ve had one good court decision after another. The Appeal Court ruled in favour of IPID, that these dirty cops in the North West could not continue to investigate IPID offices, and these counter investigations they were running. That effectively neutralises them. I think in the week following that the Director of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng South, which is Advocate Andrew Chauke, one of the few prosecutors that’s been nobbled by the Zuptoids. He made the decision to prosecute the NW team for various offences relating to kidnapping and torture. Now we’ve this momentous decision, which effectively sterilises the Zupta-controlled NPA, and should open the floodgates now for prosecutions against the Zuptoids that have been identified in the multiple dockets that have been opened by Forensics for Justice, and Corruption Watch, and OUTA and the other civil service organisations or civil organisations that have taken steps to expose corruption.

Forensic Investigator Paul O’Sullivan

So the tide has absolutely turned. It’s only a year-and-a-half ago that Shaun Abrahams was as cocky as, I don’t know how best to describe him, but when he announced that they were going to prosecute Pravin Gordhan and then they had to recant a week or two later, and he blamed it all on Torie Pretorius. Well, Torie Pretorius should take some of the blame. I believe he should go with Shaun Abrahams. In fact, I sent Shaun Abrahams an email this morning and I said, “Listen, take your accomplices with you.” We know who they are and the NPA will now come under new leadership, and hopefully that new leadership will quickly identify who the accomplices of Shaun Abrahams were. If he needs any assistance in that regard, we’ve got stacks of evidence, and then we can get a cleaned up NPA. With a cleaned up NPA, and a cleaned-up Hawks, and a cleaned-up police, we should be able to start bringing these people into the criminal justice system, I’m talking about the Zuptoids, the Guptas, Lucky Montana, the Eskom thieves, the Transnet thieves, some of whom are common, and let’s see some really, good quality prosecutions.

Is it likely that these prosecutions could then be extended into the international arena, given that a number of multinationals were also involved?

Well, you’d be surprise to know, in fact, some of the crimes being committed in SA have a transnational element to them, and you’d be surprised to know that we’ve actually been actively engaging with authorities in different parts of the world in respect to the money laundering by those organisations. I’m really talking about mostly Gupta controlled organisations, so what we’ve done is we’ve gone out of our way to get the international community, in terms of law enforcement, to look at the money laundering of those entities. You would be surprised that even a little place like Gibraltar, they have a financial services entity there, which investigates money laundering. The same with Malta, and Dubai, so we’ve flagged all of these organisations and we’ve asked them to look at the money laundering that’s been going on because every time these crooks want to do something they have to move money from one part of the world to another. If that movement is the proceeds of crime, then it’s money laundering.

Just from a broader perspective, because South Africans have seen the crime rate escalating. They’ve seen cash-in-transit heists going through the roof as well. Is all of this related?

Well, the problem is, when you’ve got an owned and controlled NPA, police, and Hawks you end up with people sitting at the top that are more interested in protecting criminals than they are in seeing criminals being prosecuted. The time and energy they spend, for example, chasing me. You know that I was arrested on multiple charges and trumped up charges. My offices were raided so many times I just lost count of it, and of mine were kidnapped. Now, all the resources they put into trying to silence me, if those resources were utilised in uncovering and dealing with cash-in-transit robbers there would be a few more cash-in-transit robbers in prison and a few less cash-in-transit robberies. But the priorities of the Zuptoid regime were such that the energy was expended instead, on dealing with people like myself, Robert McBride, Pravin Gordhan, Anwar Dramat, Shadrack Sibiya and all those people that were being hounded. There were troops and troops of police officers and prosecutors following us all around, and persecuting us and dragging us into court on trumped up charges. All that has now come to a halt and the tide is now turning the other way.

Some of the comments under the posting on Alec Hogg’s public Facebook page

But is there not a danger that the focus is going to be on those people i.e., putting the corrupt people behind bars rather than where it should be, as far as the general population is concerned, which is that the criminal element seems to be having a pretty free run at the moment. The question is, how do you get the balance between the two?

Well, you have to get a balance. I did an exercise the other day, and I sat down and I worked out, and I listened to all the suspects, and I’m talking about all the Zuptoid suspect and all the people connected to them. I listed all the offences that they’ve alleged to have committed, and some cases where prima facie evidence in that respect, and I came to the conclusion, having worked it out that if we had three separate teams of prosecutors and Hawks involved in bringing them all to justice, it would take 17-years. Now, if it’s going to take 17-years to bring them all to justice for everything they’ve done. My suggestion, which is going to be made to the new National Director of NPA, it’s going to go for the jugular, i.e., to select specimen charges, which are clean, and we can deal with each and every one of them, on one or two specimen charges, just to get them before the courts, and just to get them into prison.

A bit like Al Capone on taxes.

Well, yes, and that’s another area we could look at, is the revenue because these people didn’t only neutralise the Police Service and the NPA, they also neutralised the tax collector (revenue authority) by disposing of all the people that were investigating Zuma, and all of his cronies.

There’s an interesting statement that was issued this morning by Sipho Pityana, who’s been very strong in his activist role, the chairman of AngloGold, and he said that the process of appointing a new head of NPA or the new national director, to replace Shaun Abrahams, needs to be transparent and needs to be done in the open forum, which I suppose sends a signal that there is a worry that one political appointee, and it is a political appointment this role, might just be replaced by another one.

I must admit, I tend to agree. The level of trust that we had in Zuma, was shocking. The general public had no trust in him whatsoever, and when you hear people like Shaun Abrahams saying, ‘how disappointed he was.’ He’s lucky. He’s had 4-years of a very good run, an illegal appointment, and an illegal income – he’s lucky. We’ve failed to prosecute him, which we will be doing, whether it’s privately or through the new NDPP, he’s got to be prosecuted. But the bottom-line is when you’ve got political appointments you end up with a Zuma-fide Public Protector (PP), police, Hawks and NPA and I suppose the counter path is now true. That you will end up with a Ramaphosa styled PP, Hawks, police, and NPA. At the end of the day, I’d certainly prefer the Ramaphosa version than the Zuma version, but these are such important appointments and they’ve been so tainted by political appointments in the past that I think now the time is right to actually, bring around some sort of changes in law, to make sure that these appointments are indeed, transparent.

It was something that the ANC fought for very strongly at CODESA to give it the ability to appoint politically, the right person and surely, those are questions now that have shown that it hasn’t really worked that well. But Paul, if you were to have a vote on who should take over from Abrahams, who would it be?

If one goes from the existing pool of incumbents or the natural process is that a ND would be previously a director at PP. Out of all the directors of PP who are out there at the moment, I fancy Andrew Chauke. He’s not been shy to step forward. He’s made some fairly harsh decisions, which I’m sure has not gone down too well with Shaun Abrahams, but he’s been his own man and he’s done what he’s had to do. Hopefully, Cyril will at least appoint him as an acting-ND. Alternatively, to consider him for the permanent position. He’s senior enough. He’s been at the game long enough, and there’s no holy cows with him. I’ve heard people talking about appointing Glynnis Breytenbach. The problem is, although she’s a very good prosecutor, she’s now politically tainted because it’s obvious what her political leanings are. So I think that could be problematic to appoint someone like that. Somebody talked about appointing Vusi Pikoli well, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

I think we need younger blood or fresh blood. I fancy someone like Andrew Chauke. There are numerous other, good quality prosecutors out there but most of the directors of PP have been got at, and that’s why in Gauteng North you’ve got an acting-director, also in the PCLU you’ve got an acting-director, which is Torie Pretorius. Now, when you’ve got acting-directors for several years it shows me that they’ve kept them as acting-directors because they want to control them. The best way to control them is to keep them as an acting-director, and the minute they don’t do things the way you want them to, you can get rid of them and appoint somebody else.

Paul, what about the honest cops? You’ve talked a lot about criminals with badges, i.e., the dirty cops. But what are the honest cops thinking after today’s Constitutional Court’s decision?

Well, they’re delighted. I’ve spoken to a few colonels on the phone this morning, despite the fact that I’m in the UK. They’ve called me and we’ve had a discussion and they’re delighted. Its demonstrated that the system might have looked broken, but it’s capable of being fixed and that’s what’s happening. People said to me last year, I could have packed my bags and left the country. With all these fake criminal charges against me and all the things they were doing to me, I decided to stay and fight it out and I’m adamant that SA is still the best place in the world, and when we fix these problems, which we are doing, it will, without doubt, be the best place in the world and we’ll feel it. It’ll be tangible.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams speaks during a media briefing in Pretoria int his file photo. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Well, it was nice to see the Rand reacting very positively to the Constitutional Court judgement. It had got to R15.30 against the USD, and it’s horrible to think that when Ramaphosa, just after he was elected president, it was R11.80, so it’s really been caned and also, hurt by emerging markets. But in the wake of the Constitutional Court judgement, it’s come all the way back to R14.50 so you’re not the only one who sees this as a watershed development, Paul.

Yes, I think we’re going to see some more, positive news in the future as well. On that Ramaphosa front, I’ve been saying, since the beginning of the year, that it would have been a very simple process for Cyril to just suspend him, pending the outcome of an enquiry to consider his fitness to hold office. I’m just surprised that he didn’t go that route. I made the point in March 2018, that every day that man was in office was a day too long. That 6-months more we’ve had of that man in office, we just didn’t need him. So the damage that he’s done has been shocking and it’s going to take this country many years to recover from the damage that people like Shaun Abrahams, Torrie Pretorius, George Malloy, these dirty chief of police and head of Hawks. The damage they’ve done to our country is going to take years and I just hope that by the time we start repairing the country we can send them off to prison where they belong.

And your hitlist, is Jiba on there as well?

Absolutely, if you go back to our website you can see the docket there, if it’s not there we’ll put it up. We opened a docket against Jiba in 2012. It is now 2018, that was 6-years ago. We opened a docket against Jiba, Mrwebi, Mundlili, and a number of other officials in the Hawks and the NPA. Curiously, pretty much everybody we named, they’ve all come under attention since then. So, Jiba… I don’t think Jiba will survive, she’s got to undergo an enquiry to consider her fitness to hold office. It’s in my opinion, untenable that she can be the Deputy National Director of PP. She needs to be gone very quickly.

So she certainly isn’t somebody who would then automatically move up to the next level?

Good Lord no. She had an opportunity. She was acting-ND at one stage, and the damage that she did is just unbelievable. My concern is it’s not the people they decide to prosecute, although that is also a concern, when it concerns people like myself and Dramat, and McBride, and Gordhan. My concern is the people that they take decisions not to prosecute because they’re criminals, and when you’ve got criminals with gowns, and criminals with badges, making decisions not to prosecute people you’re actually saying that the rule of law doesn’t exist in SA. Well hopefully we get rid of this goo now and we can demonstrate to the world that there is a rule of law in SA.

Well, a watershed indeed it has been for SA and its fight against corruption. That was Forensics for Justice’s Paul O’Sullivan, and this has been The Rational Perspective. Until the next time, cheerio.

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