Paul O’Sullivan: Go easy on Russia. Mahlobo was probably lying.

LONDON — For decades, Russia has been an easy target for conspiracy theories. Even more so lately with the emergence of financial activist Bill Browder‘s widely adopted Magnitsky sanctions, and, in South Africa, former president Jacob Zuma‘s widely documented obsession to force through a fleet of unaffordable Russian nuclear power stations. This week’s disclosures from the whistleblowing State Security Services operative included deep Russian links claimed by his former boss, Zuma’s intelligence minister David Mahlobo. But as forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan cautions here, Mahlobo has a record of lying with impunity to promote his own cause. And it’s likely his claims of regular meetings with and being groomed as SA’s future president by Vladimir Putin are more vodka than rouble. – Alec Hogg   

By Paul O’Sullivan*

I have noticed a number of journalists picking up on the SSA whistle-blower’s affidavit and drawing ominous conclusions about what appears to a Kremlin link to David Mahlobo.

Paul O’Sullivan

It’s natural for such conclusions to be drawn. We were also able to see for ourselves the graphic nature of Mahlobo’s WhatsApp profile picture, which in itself is worrying considering that this is a man that has sworn allegiance to his country, South Africa and to uphold OUR Constitution.

However, before everybody starts reaching for their gas-masks, or trotting off to the nuclear fall-out shelter, I thought it wise to get some reality on the situation.

Our analysis is like this:

  • During 2017 and 2018 we carried out a detailed corruption investigating in respect of a certain Mr Arron Banks and opened a docket against him in South Africa and the UK. Whilst carrying out the investigation, we received what appeared to be credible intelligence that Mr Banks was being financed by Russia, to drive a Leave EU campaign, commonly known as Brexit. Our investigations found that the ‘Russia’ connection had been falsely generated by Mr Banks himself as a red-herring to other crimes (more serious) he was involved in. Put simply Banks had met with Russia’s ambassador to the UK, as any person might, but there was no funding whatsoever and it was later proven to be a lie on his part, although there are still journalists looking for the evidence, which is being as elusive as Paul Kruger’s gold.
  • In the State v Jackie Selebi, there had been allegations that Glenn Agliotti had paid over R10m in bribes to Jackie Selebi. Following an intensive investigation, the figure was more like R900,000 and it was discovered Agliotti was exaggerating the figures as he had tricked the now deceased Brett Kebble into paying a huge sum, allegedly for onward transmission to Selebi. Meanwhile Agliotti kept the Lion’s share for himself and when he looked like being exposed for it, arranged for the ‘assisted suicide’ of Brett Kebble.
  • In the case of the whistleblower in the SSA case, we are not suggesting the whistleblower is lying. We just need to differentiate the difference between facts backed up with prima facie evidence and ‘hearsay’, ie what he was told by someone else, in this case by Mahlobo, who has already proven himself to be dishonest. For example we have forensically proven bank statements and WhatsApp threads, as well as other evidence, which we are not putting in the public domain. We also have some eye-witnesses testimony.

When it comes to what the whistleblower says Mahlobo told him, it is my belief that our whistleblower was repeatedly lied to by Mahlobo about many things.

It was the constant lies of Mahlobo and his corrupt Zuptoid accomplices, including people like Arthur Fraser, that induced the whistleblower into believing he was an ‘agent’ of the State Security Agency, working on a special project that was so important it was being controlled by the Minister himself.

There are so many lies Mahlobo told it simply beggars belief.

As a result, until any evidence to the contrary is put on the table, the hearsay aspects of the whistleblower’s sworn statement should be treated with extreme care.

It is very unlikely that the Russian government would be able to bring an amount of R5bn into South Africa undetected. It is also very likely that Mahlobo would want people to believe he did have the backing of the Russian government, as it makes his power-play seem all the more plausible.

I believe that Mahlobo, just like Arron Banks, is an extremely dishonest individual and the lies are simply queueing up on their respective tongues to jump off. However spy-thriller it may seem, to think that Mahlobo has set up a parallel intelligence structure funded by the Russians, requires quite a stretch of the imagination. Having worked in counter-intelligence during the cold war myself, I am certainly not taken in.

The truth be known, it is simply that Mahlobo and his accomplices ‘captured’ the Intelligence Services of our country and turned same into a criminal organisation to serve the needs of the biggest crime syndicate this country has ever seen, headed by Zuma, the Guptas and the captured members of the Criminal Justice system, like Nhleko, Phahlane, Ntlemeza, Abrahams and many others.

In order to make his fraud more plausible, Mahlobo took to a Russian standard photo as his WhatsApp profile picture and spun yarns about the billions in cash he would be getting from Russia.

Perhaps a few years in a Gulag would bring him back to reality.

So go easy on the Russians in all your deliberations, we might need them as friends one day!

до свидания / do svidaniya / Good bye

  • Paul O’Sullivan, CFE, Forensics for Justice.