‘They were pressured to frame me’ - ex-Mandela cop insists

2017-03-20 17:52
Major-General Andre Lincoln leaves the High Court. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

Major-General Andre Lincoln leaves the High Court. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

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Cape Town - Major-General Andre Lincoln's former colleagues were pressured to lie under oath about him, he testified in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

In 1996, then-president Nelson Mandela tasked him with leading a presidential investigative task unit to probe Cape Town-based Italian mafioso Vito Palazzolo and his links to government officials, police, and businessmen.

He was arrested when criminal allegations against him and others in the unit then surfaced.

Lincoln is now claiming R15m in damages from the minister of safety and security (now the minister of police) for alleged malicious prosecution.

Evidence by Palazzolo, from a previous court case involving Lincoln, was read out in court on Monday. He had signed an affidavit about a trip to Angola he had gone on with Lincoln. At the time, Palazzolo thought he was a friend.

Palazzolo had testified that after this, a visit was arranged to then-deputy president Thabo Mbeki who had been "dismissive".

'Lies'

Lincoln denied this visit happened.

"This is an absolute lie," he said.

The testimony referenced witnesses who previously testified against Lincoln in past court matters. One of them was Abraham Smith, who was part of the unit Lincoln headed.

Lincoln said Smith was among a group of police officers who fabricated claims against him to tarnish his image and derail high-level investigations he was busy with. These investigations included allegations involving senior police officers.

It was put to Lincoln that Smith had not been pressured into falsifying information, but had felt pressure due to the serious nature of the matter in which he was embroiled. Lincoln denied this, saying that Smith had lied about him.

"He was under obligation from the pressure of Knipe," Lincoln testified.

He was referring to policeman Leonard Knipe who went on to head a probe into the presidential task unit.

Last week, Lincoln testified that 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 had testified that Knipe was aware of what he knew and was therefore among the officers targeting him.

Investigating the investigator

Lincoln said on Monday that Palazzolo previously testified that Knipe was instructed by then-national police commissioner George Fivaz to investigate him (Lincoln).

Lincoln said Palazzolo had testified that allegations Smith had made against him, Palazzolo, "caused me major harm in Italy".

Lincoln went on to be arrested on an array of charges linked to Palazzolo. He was dismissed. He was later acquitted and reinstated in the police.

The trial is set to continue on Wednesday.

Read more on:    police  |  andre lincoln  |  cape town  |  corruption  |  crime

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