Police desperate to cover up Mafia links with ANC MPs‚ top cop tells court

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Police desperate to cover up Mafia links with ANC MPs‚ top cop tells court

Aron Hyman | 2017-03-14 13:32:47.0

Andre Lincoln leaves the Cape Town High Court with his lawyers.

Image by: Aron Hyman

Top cop Andre Lincoln detailed how desperate police were to disrupt his investigation into links between a former organised crime unit boss‚ an ANC member of Parliament and the Italian Mafia.

Major-General Andre Lincoln made these claims in the high court in Cape Town on Tuesday. Lincoln – whom President Nelson Mandela handpicked to lead a special investigating unit charged with probing Mafia-like crime in 1996 – is suing the former state security minister for damages amounting to R15 million.

On Tuesday Lincoln explained how in 1997 a senior police official and the police’s national head of legal services went to “extreme lengths” to blow his cover by telling mobster Vito Palazzolo that he was being investigated.

At time Palazzolo was the main target of his investigation.

Lincoln had gone undercover and Palazzolo‚ he said‚ trusted him so emphatically that he was invited on a business trip to Angola with the Mafia boss.

At the time Lincoln was also facing charges for an array of crimes – including fraud. Palazzolo was called as a witness.

“At the time Mr Palazzolo did not know that I was investigating him. It was only after a meeting with (the two senior police officers) that he was convinced that I was investigating him and that he changed his testimony‚” said Lincoln.

Thereafter‚ said Lincoln‚ Palazzolo and high-level policemen met with Thabo Mbeki – who was the deputy president at the time. In addition to reporting to Mandela‚ Lincoln and the special unit also reported to Mbeki.

Palazzolo demanded that Lincoln resign from the SAPS. In return‚ Palazzolo told Mbeki‚ he promised to not testify against Lincoln.

Lincoln said one of the officers‚ Leonard Knipe‚ told Mbeki that he would drop charges against Lincoln if he resigned from the SAPS.

Palazzolo is incarcerated in Italy after evading authorities there for many years.

Lincoln was convicted on various counts of fraud relating to irregular expenditure in the use of his car in covert operations. He was sentenced but fought until the conviction was overturned and he was reinstated into the SAPS.

– TMG Digital/The Times



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