Investigation into Nkandla 'manipulated' to protect Zuma

2016-02-04 07:11
Nkandla (Matthew Middleton/News24)

Nkandla (Matthew Middleton/News24)

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Cape Town  A key investigation into the Nkandla scandal was allegedly manipulated to protect President Jacob Zuma and his family, Netwerk24 has reported.

Netwerk24 quoted three independent sources with direct knowledge of the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) probe into Nkandla who claimed the final report was “sanitised” to protect Zuma.

The Afrikaans digital publication has now applied to the North Gauteng High Court to obtain all the SIU’s draft Nkandla reports.

According to a sworn statement by Netwerk24 editor, Adriaan Basson, he was informed by credible sources in 2015 that the final SIU report, which effectively cleared Zuma of all blame, was sanitised to remove all evidence that implicated him in the "prestige project".

“I was informed that the evidence in this regard contains incontrovertible evidence that contradicts the repeated denials issued by the President in this regard,” said Basson in court papers.

Vas denies claims

Advocate Vas Soni, who was SIU head at the time, has strongly denied the claims.

The final SIU report was handed to Zuma in August 2014. Basson has claimed at least 20 draft reports exist that were compiled between June and August that year.

Netwerk24 lodged a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application against the SIU requesting the draft reports. The request was denied.

In his affidavit, Basson argued that the case was in the public interest because direct evidence that Zuma knew about the Nkandla upgrades would provide proof of “substantial unlawful conduct”.

“There is no greater public interest than in uncovering potentially unlawful conduct by the President,” said Basson. “The Nkandla scandal remains central to South African political life and any further evidence that may cast light on the President’s involvement in the Nkandla upgrades would be of great importance.”

Surprised and shocked

In his response to written questions, Soni said he was “surprised and shocked” at the allegations. He confirmed the existence of several drafts of the report.

“But I did not exclude or minimise the role of any person, including President Zuma or his family. Nor did I leave out any material or incriminating facts that had been found during the investigation,” said Soni.

“I did not sanitise the report or any part of it.”

Soni resigned as SIU head in January 2015.

The SIU’s replying affidavit is expected in early March.

Read more on:    adriaan basson  |  jacob zuma  |  nkandla upgrade  |  politics

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