By Mike Smith
17th of May 2017
One of the first things I noticed about the New (Improved) South Africa in 1994 was the sudden influx of drug dealing criminals and mafia elements from the darkest corners of the world. You had the Russian mafia (Yuri “The Russian” Ulianitski), Italian mafia (Vito Palazzolo, Glen Agliotti) , the Serbian mafia (Darko Savic – one of the world’s most wanted drug smugglers), The Czech Mafia (Radovan Krejcir), The Palestinians (Badih Chaaban), the Israelis (Shay Musli), the Indians and Pakistanis, Chinese triads, Nigerians, etc, ….In fact by 2001 Steve Tshwete, Safety and Security Minister, said 400 gangs, mainly of foreign origin, had been identified operating in South Africa.
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Top Israeli mob boss arrested in South Africa faces extradition
It is quite common knowledge that the German fraudster Jürgen Harksen had the whole of Wynberg copshop in his pocket, but although he stole millions from South African investors, he was small fry. Glenn Agliotti was the best friend of Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. Selebi and his wife would go shopping together with Agliotti and pick Viton handbags and expensive shit and Agliotti would pay for everything.
In 2007, National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi was criticised for responding to concern about South Africa's rising crime rate with: "What's all the fuss about crime?"
It was during these initial troubled times that then President Nelson Mandela was worried about State Capture by criminal syndicates and therefore decided to set up a task team inside the police who would answer to him directly.
Enters André Lincoln…The man who is currently suing the Minister of police for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.
Prior to 1994, Lincoln was deputy head of the intelligence agency for the now ruling African National Congress, but was then integrated into the new police structures of post-apartheid South Africa.
In 1996 Nelson Mandala gave Police Commissioner General George Fivaz a hand written note that he wrote in a sealed envelope to set up the Presidential Investigation Task Unit and launch "Operation Intrigue".
André Lincoln’s job was to investigate police officers involved in money laundering, drug smuggling, and other mafia activities as well as ANC ministers and politicians involved with Vito Palazollo, the alleged sixth most powerful member of the Italian Mafia at the time.
First of all, he knew the ANC terrorists intimately and he knew about their criminal activities, the Spoilers gang, Defence Minister Joe Modise (Apartheid double agent) and his stolen car and drug running rackets between Zambia and SA, etc.
Secondly, André Lincoln was very inexperienced at the time. On top of that, none of the men on Andrè Lincoln’s team had proper police training or passed through a police college at the time.
There were other concerns as well. Their funding was secret and covert. They could bypass superiors in the chain of command and even the Police Commissioner himself and answer directly to Mandela only. It went against any normal police protocol and chain of command.
This shows us that Mandela had no idea how the police worked and that he did not trust Fivaz and rather relied on his own man, whom others like then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki told him, assured him was a good man.
Nevertheless General George Fivaz appointed his own little task team under former police investigator Director (Brigadier) Leonard Knipe of Murder and Robbery Squad to keep an eye on Mandela’s Presidential Investigative Task Unit. The goal was to see whether the unit was complying with rules and regulations, and using state resources efficiently and, as General Fivaz anticipated, the unit quickly turned rogue.
Members were said to be booking out sentenced prisoners on false statements, living in safe houses with their families, renting vehicles, and giving police cars to informants to roam the streets.
General George Fivaz, now retired, testified in court a few days ago that, "It came out that the unit is extremely ineffective and there are serious allegations of misconduct that could also mean criminal conduct."
Charges were brought against Lincoln and his unit in a trail that would last ten years and see all the charges dropped.
Lincoln’s trial is over, but he wants revenge. For ten years he has been planning the day he was going to get his own back and nail the ones who prosecuted him.
Lincoln is claiming damages for what he calls malicious prosecution when he was charged with fraud, theft and drunk driving during the time when he was commander of the presidential investigations task unit. Of the 47 charges brought against him, 30 were dismissed by the regional court. On appeal to the high court, the remaining 17 on which he was convicted and sentenced to nine years, were also dismissed.
He is making some really wild accusations such as that Apartheid security police lured youths to their slaughter
He said that police officers removed evidence from the scenes of government-ordered crimes committed in the 1980s. Lincoln believes Knipe was part of a group of police officers that "cleaned" crime scenes, including after the killing of seven anti-apartheid activists in Gugulethu in 1986, and the bombing of Community House in Salt River in 1987.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission however found Knipe not guilty of any wrongdoing in both the bombing and killing of the seven. The only reason he was at the scene was because he heard about it on the radio and it was his duty to respond.
Lincoln testified that Club 35, a group of 35 high-ranking policemen, had played a role in the investigations against him and in his prosecution.
He said Senior Superintendent (Colonel) Peter Rossouw, who was the chairman of Club 35, influenced witnesses to testify in a manner incriminating to him. He said Rossouw and then police director Leonard Knipe “put pressure on witnesses” to make false statements against him.
Advocate Craig Webster, for the Police Minister, argued that the club was a social club and was not influential.
André Lincoln’s lawyer Johan Nortje said in one investigation in collaboration with the American Secret Service, dubbed Operation Donna, they found a printing press in the national police office at police headquarters in Pretoria which printed counterfeit US dollars as well as "all sorts of documentation" such as matric certificates, university degrees and drivers licences mostly printed for various generals within SAPS. Simon Nothnagel, attached to the police's commercial crime unit, was allegedly involved in this counterfeit US dollar and certificate operation.
Another allegation was that the ANC “had financial difficulty” and in an attempt to fund the 1999 election campaign, “the ANC sold drugs”.
Claim ANC sold drugs to fund 1999 election campaign
Details of a plot to assassinate Mandela during his inauguration was also revealed.
A handcrafted sniper rifle was found under the desk of a senior police officer in Pretoria, and was allegedly going to be used to kill Mandela during his inauguration. But, Lincoln said they had to turn to the high court in Pretoria to obtain a search and seizure warrant for the national police office. He alleges fellow senior police officers realised he had gathered intelligence on their plans, including one to murder Mandela, so they framed him.
General Fivaz had a different version:
Fivaz on Monday called the testimony a "blatant lie".
He also said it was a fallacy that a rifle was found inside the police head office. It was also misleading to say the investigation was stifled.
The gun had been an exhibit in police custody, "sort of illegally booked out for an operation," he said.
"It was recovered by some police official in a police safe house somewhere in Johannesburg, and that is very far away from the police head office."
An investigation followed and the case was submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.
"At the time, he [the prosecuting official] regarded the whole saga as smoke and mirrors. He was not at all convinced there was a proper case."
"Every time I spoke to the late president Mandela about an assassination, he was very amazed about it and his reply everytime to me was: 'But George, how on earth will somebody assassinate me? I am the popular choice of the nation'."
"He was not at all interested in this type of thing. I got the impression that he doesn’t believe it."
Prosecutor Andre Bouwers, who prosecuted Andre Lincoln 17 years ago, said he had enough evidence to mount a successful prosecution against Lincoln.
“We had good dockets to take the matter to court,” said Bouwers. Bouwers further testified that: “Lincoln being framed was an allegation made from day one. Everyone was shouting it, so we were aware, but it just made us more careful.
“We made sure that we had a case and the evidence we had was proper on every single count.”
There was enough evidence against Lincoln
Lincoln took the stand and told the court he had 23 years of police service under his belt. He is currently working as the cluster commander for Wynberg, and is a Major-General.
Some further reading:
Mandela was amazed that someone would want to assassinate him, Fivaz
Fivaz never gave Lincoln clear mandate
Mandela’s top cop back in court
Court rejects absolution bid in ex Mandela cop case
Presidential unit was 'running like a rogue unit'