Private investigator Paul O’Sullivan. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Private investigator Paul O’Sullivan. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Two long-serving officers of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) have been charged as accessories to crimes that private investigator Paul O’Sullivan and his assistant‚ attorney Sarah Jane Trent‚ stand accused of.

They will face charges relating to alleged misconduct during the investigation by O’Sullivan into alleged corruption by acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed that the investigators‚ Mandla Mahlangu and Temane Binang‚ were both issued summons to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on May 30‚ following charges laid by Phahlane’s team.

O’Sullivan has been accused of impersonating an Ipid officer, as well as fraud‚ extortion and conspiracy to contravene the Ipid Act for having accessed confidential files containing information about Phahlane’s home.

O’Sullivan and Trent were scheduled to appear in the same court on Friday‚ but O’Sullivan was on a permitted trip to London.

They were charged after O’Sullivan laid a complaint with Ipid against Phahlane of allegedly being bribed to award contracts while he was head of the police forensic services division‚ as well as money laundering.

As a matter of court process‚ a warrant of arrest has been filled in for O’Sullivan but will only be issued if he fails to appear on the next date‚ June 9.

Four charges have been added to the slew of allegations against the team that investigated Phahlane‚ bringing it to a total of 10 charges.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku also confirmed the charges against the Ipid officers "for offences related to entering the estate where the general stays".

Mfaku said it was difficult to confirm the exact charges because the NPA did not have a spokesperson based in the region of the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court‚ but TMG Digital can report that the charges are four counts of contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

These latest developments are a continuation of the ongoing battle between Ipid head Robert McBride and Phahlane‚ each accusing the other of being crooked. The fight came to a head last week when they both appeared before the parliamentary Police Committee.

Ipid insiders say they have seen the modus operandi employed by the investigative team Phahlane has deployed to investigate O’Sullivan and Ipid in other high-profile cases.

The team’s 21 members‚ who range in rank from warrant officer to major-general‚ are former members of the Klerksdorp organised crime unit. They are now employed by the North West detective services division. The crimes the policemen are accused of‚ including the murder of four robbery suspects‚ date back to 2006.

The men in Phahlane’s team‚ an Ipid source previously told TMG Digital‚ are the "go-to guys" when cops at the top of the heap are in trouble with the law and were the same officers involved in cases linked to Glynnis Breytenbach‚ when she was a former NPA prosecutor‚ and to disgraced former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Dlamini previously confirmed that the directorate had re-opened torture and murder investigations into several members of this team. "It is, yet again, part of interference into the ongoing Ipid investigation‚" Dlamini said on Friday when called to confirm the charge against the Ipid officers.

One of the officers arrested a ranking officer who is now part of Phahlane’s team on torture charges in 2010. Ipid insiders believe these new charges against their colleague "could be part of a revenge plot" against him.

Dlamini said more clarity would be gained once the Ipid officers appeared in court.

TMG Digital


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