Vodacom has been forced to pay forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan R1.2 million in an out-of-court settlement, Daily Maverick has reported.
The cellular giant was accused of giving O’Sullivan’s personal information to convicted criminal Radovan Krejcir’s lawyers in 2014, without the investigator’s permission.
O’Sullivan, who had been pursuing former organised crime boss Krejcir for several years, lodged an application in the High Court in Johannesburg in 2014 after he discovered that Vodacom had breached his privacy.
Vodacom’s legal representative, Pieter Conradie, said “client confidentiality” prevented him from confirming if the R1.2 million had been paid over, but Daily Maverick confirmed the amount was paid last week.
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O’Sullivan claims his personal costs in trying to get the call records returned, which he did through a court order, had amounted to more than R2 million, including fees for the application.
The investigator says he also spent more than R150 000 on an application to sequestrate Krejcir’s estate in an attempt to recover the costs.
The settlement is a victory for individual privacy and the protection of personal information from corporations.
O’Sullivan said on Monday the issue had “become settled, but my attorney tells me I am not permitted to discuss the matter further”.
At the time of the incident, in 2014, he said: “Vodacom are not above the law. If they think they can hand my cellular records over to the mafia and get away with it, they have a big shock coming to them.”
He mentioned the right to privacy, as enshrined in the constitution, and said he hoped the case would prevent Vodacom from violating people’s privacy in future.
“I am not going to allow Vodacom to ignore my rights. I’m not just doing this to get back the R2 million I wasted on preventing Krejcir from having access to my cellular records; I am doing this for all South Africans who regularly have their privacy breached by Vodacom.”