Hawks deny news report claiming investigator Paul O'Sullivan assisted in arrest of ex-Eskom managers

2019-12-20 18:55
Investigator Paul O'Sullivan. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Investigator Paul O'Sullivan. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) has denied a report claiming private forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan assisted in the arrest of former Eskom executives on Thursday.

"The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation [DPCI] would like to categorically distance itself from an article - O'Sullivan, with Koko's help, puts Trindade, Eskom accomplices behind bars - published online by BizNews on December 19, 2019, attributed to Alec Hogg," Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a statement on Friday.

He was referring to a BizNews article published on Thursday that suggests O'Sullivan, with the help of former Eskom CEO Koko Matshela, allegedly assisted in the arrest of two former Eskom managers and two businessmen - Abram Masango, France Hlakudi, Tony Trindade and Hudson Kgomoeswana.

They appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Thursday afternoon for a bail application after being arrested by the Hawks on suspicion of fraud, corruption and money laundering related to the construction of the Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, Fin24 reported.

They were later released on R300 000 bail each and had to hand over their passports.

The group is due back in court in May 2020.

READ: Former top Eskom managers appear in Joburg court on fraud, corruption charges

The DPCI, however, claimed its investigations began in 2017 with no aid from the people mentioned in the article.

"Our investigators have at no stage received aid from any persons whom the article alleges played a 'big role in getting these arrests to happen'," Mulaudzi said.

He added, due to ongoing investigations, the Hawks could not divulge details relating to the case as it compromised the integrity of their work.

"Ours is to ensure that due diligence is done with each and every probe to ensure ultimate success in court.

"Investigations in the Eskom matter are ongoing, and the recent arrests are but only the first leg that is court-ready, hence the suspects in the matter have been brought before court," Mulaudzi said.

O'Sullivan refuted claims he allegedly played a role in the arrests.

"I have made it clear that I had no role in the arrests; anyone who is saying that is rumour mongering. I started an organisation called Forensics for Justice which has gone out of its way to expose corruption; calling for someone's arrest is very different to saying I have a role in his arrest.

"I was in the UK at the time of the arrests," he told News24 on Friday. O'Sullivan had been investigating Trindade. 

Hogg, the publisher of BizNews, told News24 the publication had been reporting on the case since July 2 under various headlines:

Hogg added he confirmed with O'Sullivan he had handed his files over to the Hawks.

"I confirmed with Paul O'Sullivan that he opened a docket against Trindade in June; has held multiple meetings with the DPCI and SUI and handed over his files to them. He also received emails thanking him for his assistance," he said.

"O'Sullivan maintains [the statement] is linked to his repeated calls for the dismissal of Mulaudzi and an often-stated assertion that the Hawks were fully captured in 2017 and 2018 and remain partly captured today. O'Sullivan says Mulaudzi is continuing to abuse his position by using it to follow a personal vendetta against him."   

Mulaudzi said he was requested by the investigators to issue the statement and had not done so of his own accord. "It was not my decision. It was a directive from the head of the Hawks."

Read more on:    eskom  |  paul o'sullivan  |  corruption  |  crime
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