Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced today that she would investigate the matter brought before her by Motlanthe, following a Suday Times exposé.
She said the outcome of the preliminary investigation will be made available “no later than April 15”.
“Following a request by the Deputy President, the Public Protector has decided to conduct a preliminary investigation into the above allegations with a view to establishing whether anyone in the Presidency or the Department of Trade and Industry might have participated in unlawful conduct involving the use of state resources or power,” Madonsela said in a statement.
“In this regard the Public Protector will be able to determine whether there are merits in the allegations that state resources and authority were employed to improperly enrich or (benefit) anyone for unlawful purposes.”
The exposé is based on a meeting between Mtshali and businesspeople, including former De Beers executive Raisaka Masebelanga, where she allegedly asked for a bribe to get a letter from the department of trade and industry indicating government’s support for the business venture.
The venture was to supply helicopters via South Africa to Iran, which is under United Nations sanctions because of its development of nuclear capabilities, which are believed to be a smoke screen for building a nuclear weapon.
The revelations left Motlanthe red-faced as he only recently started being seen in public with Mtshali. He immediately wrote a letter to Madonsela urging her to investigate the matter.
Motlanthe supporters believe this revelation is meant to hurt him politically, as he is seen as a possible contender for president Jacob Zuma at the ANC elective conference in December.
Motlanthe has repeatedly denied campaigning for the top job.
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