Protector assessing a request to investigate Motlanthe

By Drum Digital
13 March 2012

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is assessing whether she has jurisdiction to investigate bribery allegations made against Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's partner, her office said on Tuesday.

"She is not investigating, she is assessing the request," Madonsela's spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said.

Masibi confirmed that Motlanthe had requested that Madonsela investigate allegations made against him and his partner Gugu Mtshali in the Sunday Times newspaper.

The report alleged that Mtshali had been implicated in soliciting a R104 million "bribe" to obtain government support for a South African company trying to clinch a R2 billion sanction-busting deal with Iran.

Mtshali, former De Beers executive Raisaka Masebelanga and others allegedly met representatives of 360 Aviation to solicit the bribe.

This was reportedly in an attempt to secure a R2 billion deal to allow a front company to supply United States-made Bell helicopters and spare parts to the National Iranian Oil Company via South Africa, the newspaper reported.

The Sunday Times claimed to have an audio recording of the meeting, on which Mtshali's voice was allegedly heard. The alleged deal reportedly failed because 360 Aviation could not reach an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company.

Motlanthe's office released a statement at the weekend saying: "Both Deputy President Motlanthe and Ms Mtshali are firmly of the view that they have committed no wrongdoing of any kind in relation to the alleged events described in the Sunday Times story."

Motlanthe's office said the allegations were serious and needed investigation.

"Having regard to the serious nature of the allegations and imputations of the story, Deputy President Motlanthe is of the view that the issues should be subject to an investigation by the Public Protector," his office said.

"The deputy president and Ms Mtshali will make themselves available to provide any information to the Public Protector should she decide to investigate the allegations."

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