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JOHANNESBURG, March 1 (Reuters) – A South African corruption probe said on Tuesday it had referred former President Jacob Zuma and current Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe for investigation by law enforcement in with a view to establishing possible charges of corruption.
The inquiry was set up in 2018 to look into allegations of high-level corruption during Zuma’s nine years in power from 2009, and releases its findings after more than three years of investigation.
Its latest report focuses on corruption and fraud linked to private services company Bosasa, currently in voluntary liquidation after banks closed its accounts amid corruption allegations.
“Evidence revealed that corruption was Bosasa’s way of doing business,” the investigation report said. “He extensively bribed politicians, government officials, President Jacob Zuma and others.”
Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing, faces allegations that he allowed businessmen to plunder state resources and influence politics in what is commonly known in South Africa “state capture”.
The report said there was reason to believe that Zuma passed confidential information about criminal investigations into the company to Bosasa and helped prevent his prosecution in exchange for bribes, in violation of his duties. as president under the constitution. He referred the matter to the relevant authorities to investigate, the report added.
Zuma refused to cooperate with the investigation, which led to his imprisonment last July for contempt of court. He was released on medical parole in September before being returned to prison by the High Court – a decision he is appealing. A representative for Zuma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The inquiry also referred evidence relating to Mantashe for further investigation, he added, adding that there was a reasonable possibility that it revealed a corruption case against him.
Bosasa installed security systems at three of Mantashe’s properties at no cost, in what the commission said was likely an effort to curry favor with the secretary general of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
In his testimony at the inquest, Mantashe said security improvements had been made, but there was nothing untoward about them. Spokespersons for Mantashe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The report says authorities should also investigate ANC officials who helped organize a free election “war room” from Bosasa. An ANC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Emma Rumney Editing by Mark Heinrich
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