Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Monday, going on trial for an alleged immigration offence.
O’Sullivan was taken off a plane at OR Tambo International Airport in early April and arrested in front of his two daughters, who were on their way to attend school in England.
He was charged with Contravening Section 26B of the South African Citizen Act because he left the country on two previous occasions using his Irish passport. The Act makes it a criminal offence for a South African citizen to enter or leave South Africa on a foreign passport.
O’Sullivan said at the time that he used his Irish passport because his life was in danger. He said Czech criminal Radovan Krejcir, who he had been investigating for years, had ordered hits on his life.
O’Sullivan’s legal team will likely argue that the charges against him are unfair as he is allegedly the first person to have ever been arrested for contravening Section 26B of the act.
Immigration lawyer, Gary Eisenberg, said earlier this year that he had never in his experience, since the Act came into law 10 years ago, heard of a South African being arrested on these charges.
The investigator and the police might fight over whether the charges are genuine or a trumped-up form of revenge. In formal letters, O’Sullivan’s legal team has accused the police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of targeting him for opening cases against senior police officers.
The lawyers laid a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), claiming his rights were violated during his arrest.
O’Sullivan said in the complaint he was arrested in an attempt to intimidate him or stop him from reporting corruption within the police, the NPA, and state-owned entities.
Before his arrest, O’Sullivan had sent numerous e-mails to police, threatening to expose alleged corrupt activities by President Jacob Zuma and top police officials.
He goaded them with the words “stop me if you can”, The Star reported.
O’Sullivan said in one email he would expose the alleged corruption at a media conference in London, but a 15-member Hawks team arrested him before this could happen.
In one e-mail he wrote, “I have just come from a top secret meeting and an amount of R20-million has now been pledged, to be used to stop the Zupta crooks (including the infiltrated and criminalised SAA/NPA/Hawks/SAPS) in their tracks.”
He mentioned dates of when he would be leaving the country. The press conference’s purpose was “to tell the world that SA has been taken over by a corrupt regime of Zupta-led criminals and that the world must now boycott SA in every way possible, just like they did during apartheid, until the people run the country again”.
Months before, O’Sullivan lodged complaints of corruption, perjury and defeating the ends of justice against Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza, acting police commissioner, Kgomotso Phahlane, and head of detectives, Vinesh Moonoo.
He had sent mass e-mails to police and Ipid officials, detailing the corruption allegations and threatening to “pursue them until the bitter end”. He often attached affidavits detailing the alleged offences.
The police officials had all, at various points, denied O’Sullivan’s allegations.
Instead, the Hawks questioned O’Sullivan for various other offences. They indicated they were investigating him for espionage, treason, intimidation, kidnapping, corruption, defeating the ends of justice, contravention of the Protection of Information Act, and the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act.
O’Sullivan denied all of the allegations and charges.
He was formally charged and appeared in court with previous SA Airways chief executive, Monwabisi Kalawe, and the chief operating officer of the Mogale City council, Abednego Mbulawa, on charges of extortion, intimidation, fraud, forgery and uttering. These related to allegations made against SAA chairperson, Dudu Myeni.
The SAA case was postponed until September. – News24