More claims against high-profile figures expected in ex-Mandela cop’s case

2017-03-22 07:31
Vito Palazzolo. (File, AP)

Vito Palazzolo. (File, AP)

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Cape Town - More details about highly influential figures and their alleged links to mafioso Vito Palazzolo are expected to emerge in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Major-General Andre Lincoln is expected to continue testifying under cross-examination.

In 1996, Mandela tasked Lincoln with heading up a presidential investigative task unit to probe Palazzolo, a Cape Town-based Italian Mafioso, and his links to government officials, police and businessman.

But criminal allegations against Lincoln and others in the unit then surfaced, leading to Lincoln’s arrest.

He was convicted of a number of charges, which he was later acquitted of.

Damages claim

Lincoln is now claiming R15m in damages from the minister of safety and security (now the minister of police) for what he has termed being maliciously prosecuted.

His civil case commenced on March 13 and since then he has named a number of high ranking people as having been involved with Palazzolo, and as having pulled strings to ensure his own prosecution.

More details about these figures are expected to be revealed on Wednesday, as well as when other witnesses, including top cop Major-General Jeremy Vearey, take to the stand to testify.

So far, Lincoln has testified the following about high profile officials and former officials:

* That former deputy president, who went on to be president, Thabo Mbeki, was aware of the allegedly questionable background of a senior policeman, Leonard Knipe, who was tasked with probing the presidential investigative unit. But Lincoln says Knipe was actually told to tarnish his image and fabricate charges against him because his investigations included probing senior policemen.

* Members of the apartheid-era security police swept the scenes after the bombing of Community House in Salt River in 1997 and the killing of the so-called Gugulethu Seven in 1986. Lincoln said that Knipe was aware of what he knew. Knipe is expected to testify in the matter.

* Then national police commissioner George Fivaz ordered a probe into the presidential investigative unit and Lincoln out of malice and unhappiness over Lincoln’s closeness to Mandela.

* That Arthur Fraser, now head of the State Security Agency and previously the head of the national intelligence agency in Cape Town, had tried to get Lincoln to plead guilty to charges put to him in and that in exchange, he would be assured no jail time.

* That former arts and culture minister Pallo Jordan was among those on Palazzolo's payroll.

The civil trial is becoming one of the biggest cases in recent times to expose alleged underhanded apartheid-era dealings and entrenched corruption within the police service.

Read more on:    andre lincoln  |  vito palazzolo  |  cape town  |  crime

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