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McBride: O'Sullivan isn’t investigating Phahlane

The Ipid head has assured Parliament of the body’s independence & made it clear Paul O'Sullivan has not been hired.

FILE: Ipid head Robert McBride. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PRETORIA – Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride has assured the police portfolio committee of the body’s independence and made it clear that private investigator Paul O'Sullivan has not been hired or tasked with investigating acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.

McBride made the comments during a briefing on high-profile cases in Parliament on Wednesday where he addressed concerns related to the private investigator’s role in the case.

Phahlane is the subject of a corruption investigation where it’s alleged he took kick-backs from police service providers in exchange for tenders, an allegation he has strongly denied.

The lieutenant-general has publicly stated his displeasure with O'Sullivan’s role in the matter and has launched a court application to prohibit his further involvement.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman asked McBride about Ipid’s operating procedures and independence with clear reference to O'Sullivan’s alleged involvement in the case against Phahlane.

“The issue of possible involvement of other parties, third parties or consultants may effect, from a perception point of view, investigations.”

While McBride made it clear that O'Sullivan is the complainant in the matter, senior investigator Matthews Sesoko provided a legal perspective.

“It is not peculiar only to Ipid. Even the police do that. When you have a complainant that has information regarding a crime, there is nothing in law that bars you from using your complainant to obtain that information.”

The committee asked Ipid to file several reports related to high-profile matters.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)