16/01/2017 20:27 SAST | Updated 16/01/2017 20:29 SAST

He Was The Blonde Blue-Eyed Spy Who Started The Investigation Into Apartheid 'Lifeboats' But Wanted Too Much Money

The British ex-spy’s demands blocked the apartheid looting probe — Madonsela

Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali
Former Public Proctor advocate Thuli Madonsela

The man behind the Public Protector's leaked report into apartheid money looting is "a white blonde blue-eyed" man, Michael Oatley, who is a spy, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela told the Cape Town Press Club on Monday. She said his demand for large payment to repatriate lots of apartheid-launched money had been the sticking point in the matter.

In a discussion at the press club, Centre for Accountability director Paul Hoffman, SC, asked whether the matter involving Absa bank amounted to an extensive form of money laundering by the outgoing apartheid government. "Were they gifts, were they loans... were they illegal disguised transactions which are invalid?" asked Hoffman. Madonsela said she could not answer on the detail. She said: "Some of your questions I can't answer."

Asked why she had investigated the matter, she said: "He asked me to investigate this matter. You are omitting something... this matter has been turned into a black and white matter."

The key person involved in the initial allegations of looting was a former spy, and she said that Oatley was "a former MI5 spy... a former UK spy".

"I am told that there is nothing like a former spy... once a spy always a spy. I am talking about a real spy," she said.

"Michael Oatley is the real initiator of that investigation and approached Paul Hoffman," she said. Hoffman, a member of the press club, said: "It is the other way around. I approached him."

Oatley had investigated the matter. He had approached the government of South Africa saying "there was money stolen on the eve of democracy". He had promised the government he could get the money back. "Pay me 100 000 pounds a month ... I will deliver that money," He had told the government of President Nelson Mandela at the time.

Madonsela said the cost of Oatley's demands had been the sticking point in the matter. The Mail & Guardian last week said that Oatley claimed the government could claim back somewhere between R3 billion and as much as R15bn from Absa. The South African Reserve Bank apparently bankrolled loans to Bankorp — a forerunner of the present Absa — during the pre-democracy area.

Madonsela, who said there was some resistance in her office to investigating an old matter, told the club that the so-called "lifeboats" — which were not only to Bankorp — amounted to some R26bn.