Paul O’Sullivan allegedly helped trace suspects who burgled Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm

Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan and others were allegedly behind hunting down the suspects believed to have stolen the foreign currency from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm, resulting in them handing back the remaining loot. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan and others were allegedly behind hunting down the suspects believed to have stolen the foreign currency from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm, resulting in them handing back the remaining loot. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 27, 2022


Tshwarelo Hunter Mogakane

Pretoria - Private investigator Paul O’Sullivan allegedly helped President Cyril Ramaphosa trace the suspects who stole US dollars from his Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo, resulting in them being kidnapped and tortured.

Former spy boss Arthur Fraser’s supplementary affidavit handed to the Hawks in June about the farmgate case, stated that O’Sullivan was complicit in the theft, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice case laid against Ramaphosa and former Presidential Protection Unit (PPU) head, General Wally Rhoode, regarding the February 2020 incident.

The suspects were allegedly hunted down and tortured with the help of O’Sullivan and others, until they surrendered the remaining loot.

Ironically, O’Sullivan has fashioned himself as an anti-corruption buster after investigating former top cops Jacky Selebi and Khomotso Phahlane for alleged corruption.

O’Sullivan’s name features in a damning document submitted by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa to the Section 89 independent panel looking into the burglary to determine if Ramaphosa had a case to answer since the crime was not lawfully reported.

Fraser’s supplementary affidavit also alleged that O’Sullivan collaborated with law-enforcement personnel and Ramaphosa’s presidential adviser, Bejani Chauke to apprehend the suspects.

In the document, Chauke is accused of illegally smuggling millions of dollars into South Africa from five countries. The money is said to have been stashed at the Phala Phala farm before foreign nationals broke in and stole some of it.

“Mr O’Sullivan, a close associate of both the president and Mr Chauke, is said to have used his private investigation company to assist in the tracing of those alleged to have broken into the president’s residence,” reads the document.

It further implicates several police officers who helped trace the suspects, stating that a neighbour of Ramaphosa also played a role in viewing the security footage with the aim of tracing those identified in the videos. “Government grabber devices were also used to trace and ping persons alleged to have broken into the president’s residence.”

“The president, through Mr Chauke, had paid substantial amounts of money between February 2020 and July 2021 to trace persons alleged to have broken into his residence to recoup some of the stolen (dollars).”

Yesterday, O’Sullivan denied being complicit in the Phala Phala scandal, and branded Fraser the main culprit. “The very first I knew of the so-called Phala Phala incident was earlier this year when it surfaced in the media.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I was not involved in tracing or finding anybody, or bringing them into the custody of the president’s security detail, none of whom I have ever met in my life. I have never been contacted by the (Hawks) about this matter,” said O’Sullivan.

The document submitted to the independent panel was 90% hearsay, he said. “At least 80% to 90% of what Fraser alleges is an intentional figment of his imagination, conceived after realising his days as a free man are numbered and that he needs to create something that can be used to cause a change of Presidency,” said O’Sullivan.

According to the document, on June 15 this year, Fraser handed the Hawks a copy of a Namibian Service crime intelligence report, said to have been authored by one Commissioner Nelius Becker on June 21, 2020.

It outlined Fraser’s efforts to connect the dots via a chain of evidence that corroborates his claims that the SAPS had not opened a criminal complaint against suspect Imanuwela David regarding the farm burglary.

The document limited O’Sullivan’s role to the tracing of the burglary suspects through his entity’s investigative capacity.

From previous interviews on various platforms, O’Sullivan has painted himself as someone who had an issue with politicians who keep a lot of cash at their homes. He previously wanted Deputy President David Mabuza imprisoned for allegations of “land fraud”. Last year, he told the YouTube podcast World View, that Mabuza once had millions stolen from his house – a case police later rejected.

O’Sullivan also made spurious allegations that Mabuza was more dangerous than former president Jacob Zuma. “They don’t call him the ‘Cat’ for nothing,” he said.

However, when pressed about claims of political assassinations made against Mabuza, the private investigator said “they were just stories. They are hearsay and I’m a factual person, I’m a forensic consultant. I prefer to stick to stuff which I know about rather than propagate hearsay stories,” said O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan has not launched any forensic probe into the confirmed burglary at Ramaphosa’s farm. Instead, he has publicly defended Ramaphosa and his son Andile when they were implicated in the R500 000 Bosasa scandal.

“I’ve known Cyril Ramaphosa for well in excess of 20 years … Cyril is not a person who engages in unethical activity. As for his son, (he) used to play tenpin-bowling many years ago … with my daughters,” he told BizNews in 2018.

In 2020, O’Sullivan told public broadcaster SABC that his forensic investigations entity was self-funded and relied on external donations.

Pretoria News