Plot thickens in SAA e-mail saga

2015-03-11 07:00

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Johannesburg - Forensic consultant Paul O’Sullivan has opened a criminal case of fraud and forgery against the chief operating officer of the Mogale City council, Abednego “Abe” Mbulawa, in a new twist to the SAA e-mail saga.

O'Sullivan came under fire last week for sending an e-mail calling for the investigation of the SAA chairperson, Dudu Myeni. 

Attached to the e-mail, which was also sent to the commissioner of police and the minister of public enterprises, was a fake Interpol report which suggested the SAA chair had an off-shore account containing €17m (about R250m).

Now, according to a sworn statement by O'Sullivan as part of his criminal complaint, his e-mails were sent out with the intention of flushing the “architect” of the fake banks statements out into the open.

O’Sullivan – and the police – confirmed to News24 that the docket had been opened but O’Sullivan declined further comment, saying: “It’s a matter of state security, and lives may be at risk”.

In the criminal complaint – for alleged forgery, fraud and uttering - opened at Bramley police station in Johannesburg, O’Sullivan included documentation which he claims implicates Mbulawa.

E-mails included in the complaint purport to show that Mbulawa had suspended CEO Monwabisi Kalawe deposit R150 000 into an account in his name, claiming the money was to cover his costs in obtaining the documents from his contacts in France.

Mbulawa denied the allegations in an SMS response to questions.

“As a COO in a municipality that got a clean audit, I have made my position clear, more so that I have no motive to be party to such fraudulent activities,” he said.

In a later phone call he said:  “It’s very important that when you write your article, you do not link me to any fraudulent activities. I’ve got no motive, absolutely no motive, to go and smear anybody’s name”.

Asked the reason for Kalawe’s payment of R150 000 into Mbulawa’s Standard Bank account, Mbulawa replied: “That is a private matter between myself and him, and has nothing to do with any illegal activities. I do consultancy work. He came to me for advice on his problems. I’ve got copies of invoices I sent to him. He asked for advice, and he paid for it. My integrity is very important. I’m not party to it.”

News24 tried unsuccessfully to reach Kalawe for comment, but he was unavailable - or reached an answering service. 

According to O'Sullivan's affidavit, the fake Interpol report may be linked to events at SAA more than a year ago, when a private investigator, claiming to be acting upon the instructions of another senior SAA official walked into O'Sullivan's Forensic Consulting firm.

The private investigator asked for help to “buy” copies of bank statements and the cellular phone records of three directors of SAA, including Kalawe.

O'Sullivan claims he strung the private investigator along and managed to get him to send evidence of where the instructions had come from.

He had then supplied this evidence along with a sworn statement of the encounter to SAA.

Read more on:    saa  |  johannesburg  |  fraud

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