Hawks to probe Mbete Gold Fields deal

Johannesburg - The Hawks would investigate allegations of corruption and bribery in a Gold Fields empowerment transaction involving ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete, Beeld reported on Monday.

Major General Hans Meiring, head of the Hawks' commercial crimes unit, confirmed the investigation in a letter to the Democratic Alliance after the party asked for a probe earlier this month.

"You are herewith advised that the content of your letter was read and the information is being reviewed by the directorate of priority crime investigations [Hawks] through an investigation for the purpose of determining whether there are any criminal actions, and, if so who the perpetrators are," Meiring's letter stated.

This follows reports that a New York law firm found that a R25m share allocation to Mbete allegedly constituted bribery.

Commissioned by Gold Fields, the firm alleged that Mbete's increased cut in the 2010 deal was in response to a threat by her representative.

Mbete has said she was invited to join the empowerment group in 2010 and was not aware of any impropriety relating to the deal.

The African National Congress has complained to the Press Ombudsman over the Mail & Guardian which first wrote about the deal.

That newspaper reported that mining company Gold Fields allegedly "buried" the law firm's report.

The DA welcomed the investigation by the Hawks.

DA MP James Lorimer said in a statement on Sunday: "We trust that the Hawks will be afforded the opportunity to investigate without fear or favour and with the full co-operation from everyone involved."

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