Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, presented “a hardly credible picture of rampant corruption” to the country’s most critical state-owned companies, according to the first conclusions of a years-long investigation into grafting under his rule.
An initial report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday called for the prosecution of former senior officials and international mediators of the rot, as it left the looting of the national airline, the undermining of the revenue service and other cases of corruption under Zuma, leaving has, set out. power in 2018.
The investigation, led by South Africa’s deputy chief justice, reports for the first time since it was launched four years ago to investigate allegations that the Guptas, a business family and other private interests plundered public resources with Zuma’s help. . “The influence [the Guptas] over former president Zuma was significant, “it concluded in the first of what will be three reports.
Zuma was sent to jail last year because he challenged a summons from the investigation, which ignited South Africa’s worst post-apartheid violence. He is now fighting a return to prison after his early release on medical parole was judged illegal.
Zuma “fled” the investigation rather than answering difficult questions about why he kept Dudu Myeni, a close ally, as chairman of South African Airways when she brought the once-respected flag bearer “into a chambolic state”. has, reads the report. “He did not want to give an account to the nation,” it added.
Bain & Co, the global consulting firm, also helped Zuma undermine and weaken the revenue service as part of the state’s capture. Its public contracts in South Africa need to be reviewed, the report states.
Ramaphosa on Tuesday welcomed the inquiry’s first report as a “defining moment” for South Africa’s fight against corruption. But its contents will be highly embarrassing to the ruling African National Congress and will be published as belief in Ramaphosa’s ability to reverse impunity and rot in the state weakens.
The report recommended that several former SAA officials, including Myeni, be investigated for possible fraud. It also called for Tony Gupta, one of the family brothers, to be investigated over alleged bribes in connection with the receipt of state money by a Gupta-owned newspaper.
Myeni denied injustice. The Guptas, who left South Africa when Zuma lost power, has always denied injustice.
South Africa has a poor record for prosecuting political corruption, a reality deplored by the report, and national prosecutors have yet to complete a major case over the era of state capture. Ramaphosa indicated that he would respond to the investigation’s recommendations in the middle of the year.
When a government official opposed the invasion of the state by the Gupta media empire, “President Zuma was prepared to throw his own comrade into the ANC. . . in the street just because he refused to be part of a corrupt arrangement sought by the Guptas ”, according to the report.
The report added that the rot in the revenue service is also “a clear example of how the private sector has teamed up with the executive, including President Zuma, to seize an institution that is highly regarded internationally and make it inefficient. “.
Bain, who had entered into a consulting contract with the tax body, met with Zuma “before they were even appointed. . . In reality, there was no need for consultants, let alone a radical overhaul of what was then a world-class institution. ” The body was rather “deliberately captured”, it said.
The investigation said that Bain’s work with the South African state should be reconsidered, and that prosecutions in the award of his contracts should be considered. One major whistleblower “has rejected numerous attempts by Bain & Co to give him large sums of money in exchange for his silence”, he added.
Bain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In 2018 it is refunded fees and interest it earned on the tax work.
Even at the stage of its first report, the inquiry called for a review of South Africa’s public procurement rules and the establishment of a dedicated and independent anti-corruption agency.
“South Africa needs an anti-corruption body that is free from political oversight and capable of combating corruption with fresh and concentrated energy,” it said.
The call for a tough new vaccine-destroying agency will be particularly provocative for the ANC. The party abolished a similar body, the Scorpions, during Zuma’s rule more than a decade ago.