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Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan says the entire Phala Phala scandal threatening SA’s President is a setup engineered by disgraced former State Security director general Arthur Fraser, his ‘sleeper’ inside the Ramaphosa household and ‘flexible’ journalists. He says there is no case for Ramaphosa to answer as Fraser’s affidavit, which sparked the controversy, is long on hearsay and short on fact. O’Sullivan urges Ramaphosa to display backbone and reject calls for his departure, saying he must not abandon the country in its hour of need. To resign now, the Forensics for Justice founder adds, would be an admission of guilt. He spoke to Alec Hogg of BizNews.
Watch the video here:
Listen to the audio here:
Please see timestamps of interview below:
00:28 Paul’s view of the possibility of Ramaphosa resigning
04:45 On Arthur Fraser exposing something about Phala Phala
11:32 On Major-General Wally Rhoode
00:17:06 On whether Ramaphosa is stepping off the stage or not
00:19:34 On the potential downfall of the presidency
00:21:39 On Ramaphosa being set up
Paul O’Sullivan QP
- Paul O’Sullivan on taking on taking on commissioner of police, Jacob “Jackie” Selebi, and putting him behind bars – 00:01:10
- On whether he advised that our new commissioner of police, Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, was the best man for the job – 00:03:06
- On whether ordinary citizens are “in on the game” or just fools – 00:12:55
- On bribery and corruption – 00:22:13
Paul O’Sullivan on confronting commissioner of police, Jacob “Jackie” Selebi, and putting him behind bars
I took Jackie Selebi on in 2002. So that’s 20 years ago. It took me until January 2008. Mbeki allowed him to take a leave of absence to defend himself. And then he also resigned as the head of Interpol so that he wouldn’t bring Interpol into disrepute while he was defending himself. Interpol even sent the general secretary down just to give evidence in this trial and say what a nice guy he was. And of course, it opened a whole can of worms because other criminals popped out of the woodwork. People like Richard Mdluli, Lawrence Mwrebi, Nomgcobo Jiba and a whole host of people which I opened a docket against in 2012. I waited until the PO of Jackie Selebi had failed before I opened that docket because I didn’t want to interfere with his appeal process in case people tried to accuse me of muddying the waters. So I prepared the docket, but I only opened it in October 2012, and that docket ran into what I suppose we can call the other dockets which involved state capture.
On whether he advised that our new commissioner of police, Fannie Masemola, was the best man for the job
No. In fact, we produced a report. We were given a list of eight names of people that were potential nominees, if you want to call it that. It was clear that some of those names were put there by the Minister of Police. We tried to do an impartial review of all the eight names we were given, and that involved us in carrying out lifestyle audits and doing a lot of digging and scratching around, which we did. And we produced a confidential report. And I think I made the point that I bumped into the Minister of Finance. He happened to be sitting next to me on a plane from Durban. And somehow the subject of the errant leadership of the police came up. He mentioned that he was on a panel that had been formed to advise and guide Cyril on who should be appointed as the chief of police. I agreed to send the report to him in confidence And out of the eight names, there were only really two people that we could see were clean, squeaky clean. And of those two, the one person, in our opinion, probably didn’t necessarily have the right mindset and skill set to be the chief of police. But the other person was definitely the shining star and the person that should have been given the job as chief of police. And coincidentally, it’s the same person that fired Phahlane from the police. Lieutenant General Johannes Riet fit the bill quite easily. And curiously enough, he was invited to go for an interview. And then the day before the interview, he got a phone call and was told no, he’s no longer required to attend the interview. And we thought that was very strange. But one of the eight names was this fellow Masemola. Our lifestyle audit of him clearly showed that he was living beyond his means. And they had judgments against him. If you’re a chief of police, you need to be squeaky clean. And he wasn’t squeaky clean. We found in our research that had purchased a number of motor vehicles to the tune of 35 million rand unlawfully. And he’d done so at the insistence of the then acting chief of police. So we made it clear that that was a big red flag as well. As well as the judgements against him, we were able to see that he was engaging himself in what we call revolving door credit, where you borrow from Peter to pay back Paul and the amount you borrow each time is a bit more. This made him wholly unsuitable. And then the last thing that we said made him unsuitable was that in March of this year, he only had 16 months to go before his 60th birthday. Now, why would you hire somebody that’s only got 16 months to go to clean up the police unless you intended at the time you hired them to extend their contract beyond retirement age? If a person had extra special skills that made that person really worth employing in a position like that, I would be inclined to motivate it, publicly. And then, of course, this week, Sunday World – they ran a very good story written by George Matlala, who’s a very experienced journalist, that Masemola, together with Mkhwanazi, who happens to be the same person that was the acting chief of police at the time when the 35 million rands for the cars was spent – and by the way, for those who can’t remember – the reason he was acting chief of police was because the real chief of police at that stage was a gentleman by the name of Bheki Cele, who became embroiled in a whole leasing scandal over buildings. The bottom line is that Cele was suspended and while he was on suspension, there was a commission of enquiry into his fitness to hold office which found he wasn’t fit to hold office. So all these people are a bunch of thugs and they all belong behind bars. And while all this was going on, crime intelligence funds were used to improve his private property as well. They built a wall around this house. So a whole lot of scandal. A whistleblower came to us with that story back in 2011 or 2012. We were fully aware of all that and nothing happened. I was frying bigger fish. So I parked it for the time being. But I brought this back onto the table in March this year when we issued a report as to who should or should not be police chief and we raised some very serious red flags over Masemola.
On whether ordinary citizens are “in on the game” or just fools
Well, I made the point in the email I sent out on Sunday this week. I sent an email and my headline was “Here we go again, deja vu three”. But it’s clear to me that he shouldn’t have been appointed. I made it clear in the report that we did in March that it was a very high risk appointment and what we needed was a low risk appointment. But he was appointed. And I said that if nothing happens and Masemola is left in his job, we will have to start ramping up the pressure for his removal. And it’s a very big disappointment for the country because his appointment was (and I’m not saying Cyril was reckless) but somebody was reckless or completely negligent and I favour the reckless aspects of it because his appointment was irrational. Now. I don’t know if my report was given to Cyril or not. I didn’t ask, but if it was, then Cyril acted irrationally as well because it means he would have had a report which red flagged Masemola as a chief of police. And yet they still went ahead and appointed him. And that was a bad decision, not just bad for the government, but bad for the people in this country, because without good ethical leadership, the police will carry on doing what they’re doing at the moment, which is not getting on top of the crime in South Africa.
On bribery and corruption
I think it’s a fact that people that can drive are not going to get a driving licence unless they pay a bribe. And the failure of the police to do anything about it really goes to the lack of leadership in the police. Having said that, if that sort of thing is going on, it would amount to organised crime. Now we do know that there’s a new head of organised crime in South Africa. It’s a person who I know very well – Shadrack Sibiya. General Sibiya is now head of organised crime. So maybe we are going to see some backsides getting kicked now. He’s only been in the job a few weeks because there was a court ruling that his dismissal by Phathlane and people that were corrupt – they went in 2014. Why do you appoint a criminal as the head of the Hawks? But that’s what they did. And his appointment was subsequently ruled unlawful by the Constitutional Court. And yet, that man did so much damage to the DPCI. There was a report issued a couple of weeks ago by the DPCI judge which implicated the leadership of the DPCI in the breaches of my constitutional rights. You know, they dragged me off planes and they did all sorts of nasty things to me and I filed a complaint in 2016. The report was issued in October 2022, six years later, and it castigates the leadership of the DPCI.
I’m just left wondering why somebody doesn’t say, “Right, let’s get a grip of this and fix it.” And it’s all fixable. There’s nothing there that can’t be fixed. And the best place to start is to put in a good manager. But they haven’t done that. They put in this fellow, Masemola, when I write to him and I’ve had to write to him since his appointment in respect of several matters, and the matters I’ve written to him about are matters of national importance. And I get a response from one of his sidekicks saying the matter is being attended to but they’ve actually done nothing. Phathlane appeared in court with a whole lot of other senior police officials a couple of months ago in Pretoria in the Commercial Crimes Court. I was there and I subsequently wrote to Masemola – demanding an explanation as to why the senior police officials that appeared in court that day went back to their offices to work the next day. And all I got was an answer saying the matter is being dealt with – that’s not a proper answer. I wanted to hear that they’ve been immediately suspended and that they would be dismissed. It involves the same person, by the way, the guy that bought Masemola his luxury bags, allegedly, because I’ve not seen the evidence. So I have to say allegedly. But the guy that allegedly purchased Masemola’s Louis Vuitton bag is the same guy that had to appear in court with him. There’s a conflict of interest in Masemola not suspending them, and he’s a bit of a fool to do so because he’s brought attention to himself now, because I didn’t just write to him. I sent a copy of my email to the president and I sent it to Shamila Batohi and Andrea Johnson. And I said, it’s unacceptable that a person at the rank of general is arraigned in court for fraud and corruption. And he’s allowed to go back to his office to continue with whatever fraud and corruption he was involved in and to intimidate potential witnesses against him. So we need a big clean up and it needs to not only start, it needs to be done with a bit of gusto. And the only person that I’ve been able to lay my eyes on right now that can actually do that is General Riet.
Alec Hogg’s Interview notes:
From Forensics for Justice: Arthur Fraser – To Face the Music for Releasing Zuma?
Arthur Fraser is set to face criminal charges for unlawfully releasing Zuma from Prison. Forensics for Justice have also requested a corruption investigation against him, because of his cosy relationship with corrupt ex-president Jacob Zuma. Read below the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment and the additional charges requested by Paul O’Sullivan against Fraser. Paul O’Sullivan, Forensics for Justice founder, believes these corrupt cabals led by Zuma have made a mockery of the rule of law in South Africa and is determined to ensure that the wind changes direction soon.” To help Forensics for Justice with this work, please consider making a donation, or buy the book “STOP ME IF YOU CAN”, the proceeds of which help fund their work.
To read the full documentation related to the criminal case, click here.
- Paul O’Sullivan: Cyril had the facts on allegedly corrupt “very high risk” Police Chief Masemola before appointing him.
- Pots and kettles – and Paul O’Sullivan
- Impressed SA’s speak: “Paul O’Sullivan is incredible and certainly knows how to investigate!”
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.