City Press journalist Sipho Masondo reports that former president Jacob Zuma is under investigation by the Hawks for accepting a R1m bribe, purportedly to ensure that Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana was kept in his Cabinet.
Zuma allegedly took the R1m cash bribe from notorious Western Cape abalone dealer, and convicted child molester Deon Larry. Larry also allegedly bribed Zokwana, agriculture department deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane and union federation Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini with a R300 000 sum of money.
The allegations arise from an affidavit submitted at the Lyttelton Police Station in Centurion in December by businessman Chaile Seretse, who is the chief-operating officer at an abalone processing company Willjarro in Gaansbaai.
Seretse claims the money went to ensuring that Larry and two of his associates would benefit from a fisheries tender.
"I joined the Gaansbaai confiscated abalone processing project in December 2016. During the course of the project, it came to my attention that James Booi and Fryman Baaitjies received an amount of R1.9m from Deon Larry,"
Seretse said to City Press.
"This money was going to be used to bribe the president not to reshuffle the minister ... after the local elections of August 2016.
"James, Fryman and Siphokazi did not want Zokwana to be reshuffled because he had a transformation agenda that he was going to implement through them. That would also include raising about R30m for the ANC through [a] fisheries project."
Larry, however, contends that he gave them the money as start-up funds for a new joint venture intended to harvest rock lobster along the east coast after obtaining fishing rights from Zokwana's department.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi this week confirmed to City Press that the Hawks are in the inquiry stage of the investigation. Once investigations regarding the bribery claims against Zuma, Zokwana, Dlamini and Ndudane.are complete, a docket will be sent to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
"These are quite serious allegations. And the matter is being looked at by the Hawks' serious corruption and serious economic offences units.
"It is still at an inquiry stage, but based on the allegations made, it looks like a docket will be opened up soon. And once the investigation is completed, we will hand over the docket to the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] to decide what to do," said Mulaudzi.
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