Cape Town - Well known private investigator Paul O’Sullivan tried to force SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni to resign her post by inadvertently using fake bank statements.
According to the Sunday Independent, O’Sullivan emailed Myeni copies of so-called overseas bank statements of accounts she reportedly possessed. It involved two banks, BNP Parabis in France and Bank Austria – of which both collectively held more than R250m.
He accused her of having received millions of rands through illegal deals involving an SAA tender and the Gauteng e-tolls contract.
In the email correspondence on Wednesday, O’Sullivan told Myeni he had acquired the bank statements from a reliable source. He then requested her resignation from SAA as chairperson before the end of the day.
However, the investigator later made an about turn when he realised the documents were fake and he retracted his accusations. He apologised to Myeni and offered her R50 000 to let the matter go. He said he had made a full apology and that he was co-operating fully with the investigation.
“The documents were fake and I fell for it, which is why I retracted the allegations and claims that I made,” he said.
This comes just days after Fin24 reported that the board of SAA was concerned about articles in various media which it said created the impression that there has been an "about-turn" regarding charges against the airline's suspended CEO Monwabisi Kalawe.
On February 20 2015 the embattled airline issued a statement announcing that the board has decided to convene a disciplinary enquiry before an independent external chair to consider the complaints against Kalawe.
"It was also made clear that further communication will be issued by SAA once the disciplinary enquiry has been finalised," SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.
“The board reiterates its commitment to dealing with this matter appropriately, expeditiously and professionally."
Tlali emphasised that the disciplinary complaints that the CEO will be required to answer to before an impartial and independent chairperson are those that have been investigated by reputable, external and independent forensic attorneys and are pursued on the advice of senior counsel.
"These relate, inter alia, to non-compliance with various critical policies and procedures as well as legislation, including the Public Finance Management Act, SAA’s supply chain management policy, the job evaluation policy, recruitment and selection policy and the delegation of authority policy, gross misrepresentation, failure to act at all times in the best interests of SAA and an improper relationship that the CEO is alleged to have had with a senior female employee within the SAA Group," explained Tlali.
These complaints follow upon a forensic investigation and legal advice.
"SAA and its board do not consider it appropriate to comment on facts giving rise to the allegations, because this may compromise the disciplinary process and may be prejudicial to the parties to the disciplinary hearing," said Tlali.
Kalawe is legally represented and Adv. Nazeer Cassim SC of the Johannesburg Bar will determine whether or not he is guilty of any of the complaints and decide on the appropriate outcome.
The process is due to commence on March 16 2015.