South Africa, Zuma Centre Stage at Graft Inquiry
By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Former- President of South Africa started testifying at a Judicial inquiry. Erstwhile South African President – Jacob Zuma on Monday testify at a Judicial Inquiry where he faces resilient questioning over allegations that, he oversaw systematic looting of State funds while in power.
Zuma struck a characteristically relaxed tone ahead of his televised appearance, which could last for five days, tweeting a video on Sunday of himself dancing and singing
“Zuma must fall” before laughing heartily.
“The commission asked me to come to testify and put forward any information that I might have”, he told members of the forth estate last week.
“We will see how things pan out, but I am going there”.
The former President is accused of nurturing a culture of corruption during a nine year reign before he was ousted in 2018 by the ruling ANC Party and replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa. As 200 members of the public are to attend the hearing on a first come, first served basis; supporters of Zuma and opponent are expected to gather for a boisterous rallies outside the inquire commission venue.
Zuma (77) is not legally required to appear at the inquiry into the so called “State Capture” scandal and it is unclear if he will cooperate with any cross examination. He has denied all wrongdoing and dismissed the concept of “State Capture”, while his lawyers have described the inquiry as an attempt to “ambush and humiliate” him.
Led by Judge Raymond Zondo, the crux of the matter; is to investigate a web of deals involving government officials, the wealthy Gupta Family and State own companies. According to Angelo Agrizzi, one of the inquire witness said Zuma allegedly accepted a monthly $ 2,200 bribe delivered in luxury bags for a contracting firms that was trying to evade police investigation. The money was in theory for his charity foundation. Aggrizzi said, his company also organized free parties, bulk alcohol supplies and birthday cakes to keep favor with Zuma’s associate.
Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene who was dismissed by Zuma in 2015, testified that Zuma pushed policies on nuclear power and aviation that were designed to benefit the Gupta Family. The Gupta Brothers are accused of fraudulently profiting from government contracts including energy and transport deals under Zuma. The Gupta’s owned a uranium mine which would have seen profits rise from the nuclear deals as a portfolio of mining, technology and media companies.
Former Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas told the inquiry that, the Gupta s offered him the Finance Minister’s job and even threatened to kill him after he refused to accept a $ 40 million bribe.
Zuma was forced to set up the inquire in January 2018 shortly before he left office after failing in a legal battle to overturn the instructions of the country’s ethics ombudsman. Zuma has separately been charged with sixteen counts of graft linked to an arms deal before he became President.
The Indian born Gupta Brothers- Ajay, Atul and Rajesh have left South Africa and are now based in Dubai. They also deny any wrong doing.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent
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