South Africa


Hawks officer who dragged investigator Paul O’Sullivan off plane to be charged

The Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to charge a Hawks warrant officer who was part of a 15-man posse of officers who in 2016 dragged forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan off a London-bound plane in front of his children.

Warrant Officer Jacobus Vlok will appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on 18 July to face charges of extortion and defeating the ends of justice. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has confirmed to Daily Maverick the DPP’s decision to prosecute Vlok.

Vlok was one of several Hawks members instrumental in O’Sullivan’s arrest on 1 April 2016 on trumped-up charges under the South African Citizenship Act. The case against O’Sullivan was later dismissed.

The charge of extortion relates to an alleged attempt by Vlok to intimidate Lynn Fliess whom O’Sullivan had assisted to obtain protection orders for herself and family against her former husband. Fliess, fearing for her life, had removed her husband’s guns from their home and handed them for safekeeping to a dealer. She did so on the advice of O’Sullivan.

Vlok, in a recorded interview with Fliess’s attorneys, said he was going to charge Fliess and O’Sullivan with racketeering. Fliess later lodged charges at Douglasdale against her husband, Douglas Fliess, Vlok, and the NPA’s advocate JJ Mlotshwa, whom Vlok had said was behind the investigation.

In an affidavit, Fliess set out how Vlok, allegedly acting “in common purpose” with her husband and Mlotshwa had taken a decision to “harass and intimidate me” with the objective of forcing her to allow her husband access to their minor child and “to put me in a position where I might give false evidence against Paul O’Sullivan”.

During the meeting with Lynn Fliess’s attorneys (which was recorded) Vlok said he would “close the case” against her if she agreed to her husband’s terms of custody.

O’Sullivan and Vlok first encountered each other in 2014 when the cop raided O’Sullivan’s offices.

O’Sullivan has for several years opened numerous cases against allegedly corrupt senior SAPS, Hawks and NPA members. This has not endeared him to those who have been fingered in corruption and State Capture. DM