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Here’s some food for thought served up by forensic investigator, Paul O’Sullivan; without a rogue element in the media, the State Capture project would have been impossible. Those of us who’ve been around long enough will know that if enough media hype is created, politicians can implement their nefarious hidden agendas in plain sight, while basking in the floodlight of what’s touted as truth. Our history, from the Information Scandal arch-manipulator Eschel Rhoodie to the modern-day Guptas, is one of a minority of opportunistic journalists grasping opportunities to advance their careers and fortunes. You could write a book on how journalists, especially over the past four years, have aided State Capture and colluded with dodgy police to bring down its opponents. Then of course, there are two lesser, but no less harmful categories, the first typified in the legal world by the phrase, ‘dolus indirectus.’ This is where the journo knowingly crosses an ethical line in order to get shine. Some even won awards for it, so convincing were they. Finally, there are those who through sheer sloppiness, get played by their primary sources, thus furthering shady agendas. Alone or in combination, they’re all wholly antithetical to the values and objectives of our profession. – Chris Bateman
State capture was facilitated by rogue journalists and lawyers
By Paul O’Sullivan*
It is my submission that, without a rogue element in the media the State Capture project would not have been possible. The media had a significant role to play in the removal of key elements of the criminal justice system, which were then replaced by criminals. If that did not happen, the levels of crime and corruption we have seen in the last decade would not have been possible, because good cops and prosecutors on post, would have put a stop to it.
We started unpacking the ‘capture’ of the criminal justice system as far back as 2010, when we saw what was going on behind the scenes at the NPA and within the police. By 2012 we realised that there was a coordinated effort to capture the criminal justice system. My mail to Yusuf Abramjee of May 2012, (see below) goes straight to the heart of the matter. It was also in 2012, that we opened a criminal docket against Jiba, Mrwebi, Mphego, Mdluli and others. Looking back, it’s now apparent that by 2012 we were probably already past the point of no return, as the good-guys (which includes females) were already fighting a rear-guard action, to defend themselves against false and malicious claims surfacing in the media and Mdluli, despite being on suspension, was running the police Crime Intelligence, which he had turned into a family business.
When we published our report ‘Joining the Dots’ (see https://www.forensicsforjustice.org/portfolio-posts/state-capture-criminal-justice-system/) we highlighted the role of certain rogue journalists, who helped create a facilitating environment so that the underworld could seize control of the criminal justice system. Although we named and shamed certain journalists, they were not the only journalists, that should hang their heads in shame. There were at least a dozen journalists that regularly put up knowingly false stories, seeking to impugn my character and the characters of others. Their editors, either did nothing or helped with the process.
Equally, certain dishonest members of the legal profession were very willing players in the capture of the criminal justice system, some of them teaming up with the captured journalists. In 2011, following a high-profile raid on the house of Radovan Krejcir, in which I assisted the then Head of DPCI in Gauteng, General Sibiya, in planning, a dirty journalist from The Star, De Wet Potgieter sat in BDK’s offices with one of Krejcir’s criminal associates and his prostitute girlfriend, to ‘create’ a front page story dishonestly claiming that I had assaulted them, I was never contacted for my side of the story. The journalist kept quiet about the fact that Michael Arsiotis was in the country illegally, and was wanted in Cyprus for murder. The interview and photographs in the lawyer’s offices was intended to give an air of authenticity to the story. A few weeks later, using the proceeds of crime, partners at the same law firm launched an urgent application against me in the High Court, in an attempt to silence me. By the beginning of May, a well-known criminal defence lawyer, stood in the Johannesburg Magistrates court and repeatedly defamed me, during a bail application of Krejcir. He did so to such an extent that even the magistrate had to ask him to reign in his vitriolic and irrelevant statements. Yet, his vitriol was carried in the media with no phone call for my version.
Put simply, the proceeds of crime were used by criminals, to pay unethical lawyers, who knew or ought reasonably to have known they were being paid with the proceeds of crime, to harass anybody like me and stop any activity that would have brought the underworld to book. The same proceeds of crime has been used to pay off journalists, such as those at the Sunday Times, to help bring the country to its knees by clearing the path for evil in the criminal justice system. It was this toxic environment that was then penetrated by many criminals, not only the Zuptoids, that has resulted in South Africa being a country where the rule of law is so impotent, the criminals can commit crime with impunity. The media played a significant role in this capture of the criminal justice system, because there are too many journalists and editors that do not know the difference between a ‘scoop’ and a ‘planted story’, and quickly fall into the trap and then proceed to destroy good people’s lives.
If we really want to know what’s wrong with South Africa today, it can be summed up quite simply:
There’s virtually no rule of law. The reason there’s virtually no rule of law is because the criminal justice system has been eviscerated by the underworld who have been ably assisted by dirty journalists and dirty lawyers. This has led to rampant corruption within the criminal justice system, to the extent where drug dealers can peddle their evil in full sight of police officers, where taxi’s can overtake where they like, how they like and park where they like, blocking roads, because the police do not have the ability to do anything about it, because they are far too busy collecting their tjo-tjo from drug dealers, or un-roadworthy taxi owners.
Although the criminal justice system is broken, something can be done about it
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
“When evil men rise up, it’s up to the rest of us to pull them back down again.” – L Ron Hubbard
“For they have sewn the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” – Hosea 8:7
How do we fix the Criminal Justice System?
First we need proper leadership in the police. A system that allows Richard Mdluli to sit at home for seven years on full pay, and suspended acting chief of police Johannes Phahlane and his wife to sit at home on full pay for two years, is clearly lacking in leadership. A police service that ‘classifies’ incriminating evidence as ‘top-secret’ so they don’t have to hand it over to IPID, is a police service lacking in leadership. A police service that appoints people to positions based on a system of patronage, instead of a system of best man for the job, is a police service that is lacking in leadership. A police service where a complainant goes into a police station to open a docket, is presented with insurmountable hurdles because the cops behind the desk are too lazy to do what they are paid to do, is a police service lacking in leadership. A police service where police officers go shopping or to the movies when they are supposed to be out investigating crime, is a police service lacking in leadership.
Proper leadership in the top echelons of the police, is the first thing we need
A police force populated by criminals is NEVER going to bring about a satisfactory rule of law. Officials accused of serious crimes should NOT be allowed to employ senior counsel at tax-payer expense to defend themselves and drag out their trials, so that they can have a multi-year paid holiday, before being sent off to prison. Police officers who act unethically, or are lazy and don’t do their work properly will not help bring about a rule of law.
Every criminal and lazy cop in the police must be shown the door
Crime investigation has to be prioritised so that criminals start to feel the heat. The low-hanging fruit must be harvested first. The same applies to the so-called state-capture project. We have opened dockets going back to 2012, some of which are published on our website, Forensics for Justice. Some of these cases, dating back years are replete with prima facie evidence of serious crime, yet to this very day, not a single person has been brought to book.
Certain cops, in fact there were many of them, were happy to be a part of a crusade to stop anyone that was trying to stop the rot in South Africa. These are the cops that arrested and kidnapped honest citizens, for false offences aimed at silencing them. I was dragged off a plane with my minor children and detained and tortured for four days. Staff of mine were kidnapped and driven around for hours by dirty cops. Dirty cops repeatedly raided my offices and did everything they could to stop me. Apart from Phahlane and his wife, the rest of these dirty cops, that aided and abetted State Capture, are still out there, with their badges and guns, committing crime instead of stopping it. We cannot be so pretentious as to believe they are now behaving themselves. They are being protected by dishonest leaders and are a part of the push-back machine aimed at stopping the clean-up in its tracks.
Every cop that was involved in State Capture projects should be suspended pending a proper investigation of his or her role!
Corrupt or lazy prosecutors are good for no-one and are certainly not good for South Africa. Quite the opposite, they are counter-productive. During the last decade, a number of persons were singled out for prosecution by a clique in the NPA headed up Jiba and later Abrahams. These people were handed senior ‘acting’ positions, in return for their loyalty and their ‘flexibility’ in trashing their oath of office. As a result, there was a co-ordinated attack on those exposing corruption, including, but not limited to, myself, Sarah-Jane Trent, Robert McBride and others at IPID, Johan Booysen, Shadrack Sibiya, Anwar Dramat, the SARS three and Pravin Gordhan. Apart from the snake’s heads, Jiba and Abrahams, the foot-soldiers that were prepared to assist in the state capture project are still at their desks. They are worse than sleeper cells, because they know what crimes they committed and they are still there, still active, suppressing the recovery of the institution of the NPA.
Every prosecutor that was involved in State Capture projects should be suspended pending a proper investigation of his or her role.
Self-admitted criminal Angelo Agrizzi first approached Forensics for Justice in October 2017:
From: Angelo Agrizzi
Sent: 18 October 2017 11:57 AM
To: Paul O’Sullivan
Subject: Potential corruption case Watson’s Bosasa ACSA
Your office referred me to your email will you please contact me so I can brief you accordingly
Agrizzi did not approach us because he wanted to do the right thing. He came to us because he wanted to finally destroy the beast he had created together with Gavin Watson. He tried to play us and we would have none of it. He wanted to give us what he described as ‘dynamite’ information, but wanted to tell us how to use it. We never let criminals tell us how to conduct our investigations, that would be self-defeating. We completed our work and told him to go and meet with the Zondo Commission, as we had could not get him to talk straight. A year ago, we opened a criminal case against Watson and ANC MP Vincent Smith. (See https://www.forensicsforjustice.org/portfolio-posts/the-looting-continues/) Rather than throw the book at them, we chose to go for the jugular and one or two crisp, but easy to prove criminal charges of corruption, because Vincent Smith had publicly responded to the allegations that he had received monies from BOSASA, by admitting that he did indeed receive the funds. He thought that by saying the monies were a ‘loan’ it would absolve him of any wrong doing. Act 12 of 2004 makes it clear that a loan IS ‘gratification’ as defined in the act and therefore Smith has admitted the offence of corruption. A whole year has passed and despite a crisp docket with prima facie evidence, including an admission from the corrupted, nothing has been done. According to the People’s Assembly website, Smith is still attending portfolio committee meetings, as if nothing has happened. (see https://www.pa.org.za/person/vincent-george-smith/). Yet here was a fantastic opportunity for the DPCI and NPA to arrest and charge both Watson and Smith and show the whole country that there is a rule of law. The prosecution could have been done and dusted and the criminals behind bars already. Yet nothing has happened.
The NPA have to carry out effective case management that actively goes for the low-hanging fruit, for the jugular, where they can take some quick wins, put baddies away and restore confidence!
The role of the legal profession
It is clear that every criminal has a Constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer of his or her choice and he also the right to a fair trial. However, that right does not give any criminal lawyer the right to ride rough-shod over legislation, such as the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which makes it a very serious offence to receive the proceeds of crime. Sections 4, 5 & 6 of the Act make it a very serious offence for any person to knowingly, receive any proceeds of crime. It also uses the expression ‘or ought reasonably to have known’. Well, if someone like Radovan Krejcir, an illegal immigrant, with no visible source of income, rocks up at a lawyer’s offices and hands over bags of cash, or gets someone else to hand over bags of cash, then it does not take rocket science for that lawyer to form the opinion that this person may be paying him with the proceeds of crime. A good lawyer, would first carry out a ‘know your client’ process and this would be followed with asking the ‘client’ to demonstrate the source of funds. That good lawyer would then, decline the work and file a report to the Financial Intelligence Centre, as he is required to do by law. Source of funds to lawyers defending those accused of corruption or organised crime, needs to be subject to proper scrutiny and a few dirty lawyers need to have an example made of them, by sending them to prison.
The legal profession need to either properly police themselves, or the State need to police them and send a few to prison.
The important role of the media
I should start by saying that 99% of all journalists are ethical and hard working. It’s the 1% or less that have poisoned the well for others.
In 2006, I handed an INL journalist a dossier that implicated Selebi, not only in protecting drug-lords, but also of assisting in the ‘nobbling’ of the Brett Kebble murder and taking kick-backs from drug-trafficker Glenn Agliotti. The journalist in question shared it with her editor and they ran a story on the front page of the Saturday Star. A freelance journalist writing for the Sunday Independent (Jeremy Gordin) managed to get a copy of the dossier on the basis that he wanted to ‘work on it’ as well. Within a week, Selebi’s side-kick Andre Pruis had a copy of the dossier and was told by Gordin that it had come from me. Two weeks later my own intelligence agents advised me that a secret unit in the police known as Zonke Sizwe, had been briefed to track and kill me and, if that failed to kill my family. This led me to two years in exile and cost me an absolute fortune. That journalist, being free-lance did not suffer any employment detriment and as late as last year was still peddling vitriolic stories to news-papers, which ultimately led to his dismissal, after he subbed a story and referred to me as a ‘real prick’.
In 2011, a few weeks the Star ran its front page article that was false and defamatory of my work in bringing down Radovan Krejcir, Radovan Krejcir’s bag-man dropped off an envelope with R15,000 in it to the journalist concerned, De Wet Potgieter. I complained to the Star and he was much later dismissed. In the meantime, he ran further stories which were defamatory of me, having been put up to it by crooked cops, again without putting my side down. He re-surfaced working for the New Age a year or so later. He was subsequently dismissed from the New Age (in itself a massive red-flag, (since the New Age lived by the idiom, never let the truth stand in the way of a good story) and later resurfaced as an editor of one of the Caxton knock-and-drop weeklies out in the middle of nowhere.
During the life-time of the New Age and ANN7, their journalists repeatedly made false and defamatory comments against, not only myself, but many others exposing corruption. It was clear to even a blind man, what agenda they were pushing.
I have said plenty about the shocking state of affairs at the Sunday Times. This story is most informative: In October last year, I gave them a seven day ultimatum, to come clean or face the music. I also attacked the dishonesty one of their journalists for deliberately lying to the public through their latest story intended to prop up state capture, by accusing me of being a ‘spy’ for IPID and/or and controlling IPID, and by implication saying that Phahlane was a ‘victim’ of my illegal activity. It was clear that the allegations were being peddled by criminal cops, again, and the Sunday Times were again happy to walk straight into the trap set for them, by using selectively chosen WhatsApp messages downloaded from Sarah-Jane Trent’s stolen phone after she had been ‘kidnapped’ at gun point by dirty cops. Instead of questioning how the ‘source’ was able to hand himWhatsApps, taken from a kidnap victim’s stolen phone, Poloko Tau lapped up the opportunity to be part of the State Capture machinery. The journalists in question was obviously played or paid. He referred to me as a Private Investigator, something I have NEVER been and Sarah-Jane Trent as my ‘assistant’. FACT: Sarah-Jane Trent is an Attorney and is the Executive Director of the charity I set up to fight corruption. Me? I am principally involved in property investments globally and secondly run a professional consultancy that offers forensic and fraud prevention advice. I have been a Certified Fraud Examiner since the last century and use those skills for the charitable work. I have NEVER been a Private Investigator.
More recently, a journalist from the City Press has seen fit to support a criminal syndicate that obtained a multi-billion Rand tender from Transnet, by turning the tide against me for exposing it, accusing me of having a hidden agenda against the crime syndicate involved. Shortly after this journalist dissed me, the head of the crime syndicate had a warrant issued for his arrest in Kenya, yet the journalist does not seem to think this is newsworthy.
When the forces of State Capture repeatedly arrested me and dragged me off to court on trumped up charges, the media were all over it. When the last of the cases was thrown out of court and I launch a claim against the State, it receives very little coverage. Anybody that does not know me googling my name, would think I am a criminal, because the media have not updated the on-line stories (with a foot note) to set the record straight, something which should be obligatory. This failure to update led to two of my overseas banks wanting to close my accounts because of the adverse media coverage, and I had to engage expensive lawyers to stop them. It also led to a lost property deal in the UK, because the prospective investor got cold feet after getting a negative due-diligence on me. This is part of the price I had to pay for helping clean up South Africa, over and above the massive personal and financial cost to myself and my family, just because the media are slack at fixing their on-line stories which make me look like a criminal.
SANEF, who undeservingly claim the high moral ground, publicly attacked me (without first picking up the phone and talking to me) for calling out the rotten Sunday Times journalist that unlawfully propped up a crime syndicate that was trying to bring the police to its knees. According to SANEF, I should have complained to the Press Council! Been there, done that, it does not serve the purpose, especially since membership of the Press Council is voluntary and the baddies choose not to belong. The Press Council is for bad reporting, not for journalists playing the tune of the underworld in the media.
Throughout the whole period of State Capture SANEF have, in the main, remained totally silent about the role of the media in state capture. To put it bluntly, they fiddled, whilst Rome burned. Yet they have now unilaterally assigned themselves the role of investigating what went wrong at the Sunday Times. A bit like asking the mice to guard the cheese if you ask me. They have remained resolutely silent over the last decade, whilst criminal elements in the media assisted in the State Capture project. Now is the time for some inner soul searching and time to ask themselves what they could have done different to stop the rot.
If SANEF really want to make a difference, they need to team up with the Press Council and see to it that every cheque-book journalist, that sided with criminals, can never get employment again.
If they want to claim a high moral stance they should realise that leaping to the defence of a free press, does NOT include defending patently dishonest journalism, being put out by subversives. Furthermore, they cannot repeatedly cry out for press freedom, when they stand silently by whilst the criminal element in media are working hand-in-glove with the underworld in bringing a country to its knees.
Finally, much has been said about the right of a journalist to maintain the anonymity of his/her ‘source’. I agree genuine whistle-blowing sources should and must be protected. However, when a 3rd force agent or plant from the underworld, or dirty cops from crime intelligence deliberately feed a journalist with fake news or lop-sided data with a hidden agenda, then that ‘source’ needs to be outed, and exposed for the role he or she played in attempting to mislead the country anonymously. SANEF and the Press Council have a duty to encourage such journalists to expose such sources to scrutiny, thereby sending out a signal that subversive sources can be exposed to scrutiny and cannot claim the protection of anonymity for their subversion. ONLY then will subversive agents realise that the media is not their playground.
Journalists that have been dumb enough to have been ‘played’ by subversive agents have a choice, name and shame the ‘source’ or stop being a journalist. If the journalists was ‘paid’ instead of being played, then he or she should never put pen to paper again.
Put simply, the media need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, as they have been!
If we have an effective criminal justice system, crime will decrease, criminals will be put behind bars, women and children will be safer in the streets and at home and the xenophobic riots will not take place, because the illegal immigrants will not be peddling drugs and counterfeit goods and prostitution in the inner cities. Systemic corruption will decrease and the monies intended for uplifting the poorest of the poor will be used for that purpose, thereby uplifting the lives of those that most need it. Mandela’s vision for South Africa will then have been achieved.
To fix South Africa, we must first fix the criminal justice system. We at Forensics for Justice will continue to do our part, until the job is done.
We firmly believe that the criminal justice system CAN be fixed and the country does have and will have a much bright future. We call upon all South Africans, especially the media, to recognise its role and to continue to seek ways of making the country better.
I hope the above helps put some perspective on where we are as a country today and why, as well as what can be done to fix it, and what the role of the media could and should be.
- Paul O’Sullivan, founder, Forensics for Justice.
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