Motlanthe, partner cleared by protector

2012-09-28 17:11
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has cleared Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and his partner of improper involvement in an Iran deal.

Motlanthe "was never involved in assisting 360 Aviation to obtain the support of the South African government for the business transaction involving the Islamic Republic of Iran", according to Madonsela's report released on Friday.

Motlanthe asked the public protector to investigate after a Sunday Times report on 11 March 2012.

The report alleged that Motlanthe's partner, Gugu Mtshali, was "implicated in soliciting a R104m bribe to obtain a sanctions-busting deal with Iran".

The article said Mtshali had met associates of Motlanthe and representatives of 360 Aviation, at a restaurant in Bryanston, Johannesburg, in February 2011, "to discuss buying government support" for 360 Aviation.

The company allegedly planned to trade aircraft in Iran. At the time there were United Nations-imposed sanctions against Iran, which included an arms sales embargo.

The public protector said Mtshali attended part of that meeting, and uttered only the words: "No! ... Hey man Jo, c'mon Jo..."

"Miss Mtshali's presence and utterance of the above few words do not substantiate a finding that she participated in the meeting or the Iranian deal, or solicited and/or accepted a bribe or gratification in exchange for influencing the Government of South Africa to support 360 Aviation's Iranian business venture," the protector found.

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