SAA investigation the real reason behind O'Sullivan arrest, court hears

Johannesburg - A large number of Hawks officers arrested forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan for "abusing 26B of the citizen act" because they could not get an arrest warrant for him in another case.

This is what defence attorney Barry Roux on Monday put to the arresting officer, Captain Cecil Mangqalaza. The former Hawks officer now works for Multichoice.

O’Sullivan appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on six counts of contravening section 26B of the Citizenship Act by exiting and entering the country on his Irish passport between March 2015 and February this year.

He was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in April. He was about to leave on a flight to London to accompany his daughters back to school.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mangqalaza was in the police service for 28 years. He told the court that the Hawks were investigating O’Sullivan over an SAA matter and he had been asked to go to Home Affairs to look at O'Sullivan's movements in and out of the country.

O’Sullivan has since been charged - in a separate case - with extortion, intimidation, fraud, forgery and uttering in a case where false allegations had allegedly been made against SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni.

Arrested at OR Tambo

His co-accused in that case are previous SA Airways chief executive Monwabisi Kalawe and Mogale City council chief operating officer Abednego Mbulawa. That court case resumes in September.

Immigration officer Kenneth Ndou looked O’Sullivan up in the movement control system and found he had left the country on his Irish passport, an offence in terms of the SA Citizenship Act.

Mangqalaza said the investigating officer for the SAA case was getting a warrant of arrest and they were trying to locate O’Sullivan in the morning. Officials at OR Tambo called them to say O’Sullivan was about to leave the country.

He said border police arrested O’Sullivan after he had already boarded the flight.

Prosecutor Jabulani Mlotshwa asked if O’Sullivan had any other contact with him. Mangqalaza said O’Sullivan had called him in June and told him he was aware that he had left the police, that he (O’Sullivan) was preparing summonses to sue everyone involved in his arrest and he would exclude him because he was no longer in the police. He said O’Sullivan asked if they could meet in a coffee shop.

"I said I would bring the investigating officer, but he said no, I must not," Mangqalaza said.

SAA matter

He said he believed O’Sullivan wanted to speak to him about the Citizenship Act case.

Roux told him O’Sullivan was not calling him about the current case, but had heard he had had a fight with his bosses and that he wanted to discuss a case of corruption he was investigating.

Roux then asked if he knew the Hawks had been trying that day to get an arrest warrant on the SAA matter, but were unsuccessful. Mangqalaza said he knew.

"Were you involved in the SAA matter?" he asked.

"No," replied Mangqalaza.

Roux then read out from his statement: "I was part of the investigating team."

Roux said he was trying to distance himself from the matter.

"I’ll tell you why. A great number of the Hawks abused 26B, because they wanted to arrest him on the SAA matter, to which they could not get an arrest."

O’Sullivan on Krejcir’s hitlist

Earlier in the day, it was made clear what Roux’s argument would explain why O’Sullivan had used his Irish passport to leave the country: to hide himself from Czech fugitive from justice and convicted criminal Radovan Krejcir, who wanted to kill him.  

Three members of the Krejcir investigation team stood outside the court, waiting for the case to begin. They had been subpoenaed by the defence to testify.

Roux made it clear during cross-examination of Home Affairs immigration official Kenneth Ndou that O’Sullivan had used his foreign passport to avoid detection because of Krejcir.

The team would probably testify on Tuesday.

Ndou worked in the Pretoria head office and said police had come to him with a letter asking that he look up O’Sullivan’s movements because they were investigating him.

During cross-examination, Roux asked Ndou why the offence was only detected this year. Ndou replied that it did not make any difference when the offence was discovered.

"I am turning my head away because I find it hard to listen to you, because you know what I am asking you," Roux said. 

Death threats

Roux described the witness as argumentative and evasive.

"Do you know of any death threats against Mr O’Sullivan? Related to the Krejcir matter? In the media, all over newspapers?"

Ndou replied: "I heard it on the radio. With regard to the law it makes no difference."

Roux asked him if he knew that police officers had helped Krejcir in his plan to kill O’Sullivan.

"Do you ,with that, he would want to be under the radar? You would not want to be seen coming back into the country."

Mlotshwa wanted to know if leaving the country on a foreign passport would hide O’Sullivan’s movements. He asked Ndou if O’Sullivan’s name was typed into the movement control system what would come up.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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