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Zuma report notes possible corruption

President Jacob Zuma could face 783 charges relating to a 1999 arms deal
An investigation into South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has found evidence of possible corruption at the top level of his government.
In the report, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommends Mr Zuma establish a judicial commission of inquiry within 30 days.
Mr Zuma is accused of an improper relationship with wealthy businessmen.
He had tried to block the release of the report, but dropped his court bid on Wednesday.
The president and leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC) has been dogged by corruption allegations for more than a decade, but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Police fired water cannon to disperse protesters who marched on Mr Zuma’s main office in Pretoria to demand his resignation.
The 355-page report by former anti-corruption chief Thuli Madonsela is entitled “State of Capture” and is illustrated on its front page with a hand strung with puppet wires.
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas is quoted in the report as saying that businessman Ajay Gupta offered him 600m rand ($44.6m; £36.2m) last year, “to be deposited in an account of his choice”, if he accepted the post of finance minister.
Mr Gupta also asked him if he had “a bag which he could use to receive and carry 600,000 rand in cash immediately”, Mr Jonas alleged, adding that Mr Zuma’s son, Duduzane, was present at the meeting.
He was expected to remove key Treasury officials from their posts and advance the Gupta family’s “business ambitions”, Mr Jonas is quoted as saying.
The businessman has not yet commented on the report, but has previously denied any wrongdoing.
The Gupta family is close to President Zuma, and the two have been nicknamed by the opposition as the “Zuptas”.
After Mr Jonas rejected the alleged offer, little-known ANC MP Des van Rooyen was appointed finance minister.
Ms Madonsela said she had obtained evidence, including telephone records, placing Mr Van Rooyen at the Gupta’s family home on seven occasions, including the day before the appointment.
Mr Zuma was forced to sack him four days later after South Africa’s currency went into a tailspin.


The report also contains allegations that:
•    Ajay Gupta boasted that as a family they had “made a lot of money from the state”, putting the figure at 6bn rand, according to Mr Jonas
•    Mr Zuma told former government media chief Themba Maseko that the “Gupta brothers need your help, please help them”
•    Mr Gupta asked Mr Maseko to channel advertising to a newspaper the family was setting up
•    The board of power utility Eskom appeared to have been improperly constituted
•    It made payment of nearly one billion rand to a firm linked to the Guptas and the president’s son
•    The payments may amount to “wasteful expenditure”
•    Eskom boss Brian Molefe and Mr Gupta made 58 telephone calls to one another between August 2015 and   March   2016.


Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Musi Maimane said state coffers were being “plundered” by “crooks”, but the “good guys” were winning in the battle to safeguard the democracy which emerged in South Africa at the end of minority rule in 1994.
There has not been any immediate reaction from Mr Zuma, who did not co-operate with the investigation, saying he had not been given enough time.
An earlier statement from the president’s office said the decision to abandon a court bid to block the report’s release was made “in the interest of justice and speedy resolution of the matter”.
“The president will give consideration to the contents of the report in order to ascertain whether it should be a subject of a court challenge,” it said.
Mr Zuma survived an impeachment vote earlier this year after South Africa’s highest court upheld another finding of Ms Madonsela – that he had “unduly benefited” from government money used to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Ms Madonsela stepped down as Public Protector at the end of her seven-year term last month.
Source BBC

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