South African leader gets final chapter of corruption report

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has received the final chapter of a report on a thorough judicial investigation into corruption.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo handed the final part of the report, which is said to be 1,000 pages, to Ramaphosa. The first segments of the report laid bare rampant corruption in government and state-owned enterprises during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure from 2009 to 2018.

Speaking during the delivery of the final chapter, Ramaphosa stressed that he did not know what was in the conclusion, not even the conclusions of the commission on his own testimony.

“Not for once did the Chief Justice even want to discuss the evidence I presented to the commission. And he said he had about a chapter dealing with the evidence that I presented to the commission, but I don’t even know what it is because of the high regard I have for him,” said Ramaphosa.

“He could have made a negative finding against me, which I will accept,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa has already received four installments of the report which have been made public and contain damning findings against politicians and businessmen linked to his ruling African National Congress party. The first parts of the report recommended that many people be prosecuted.

The final segment of the report is expected to detail corruption within South Africa’s intelligence department, the State Security Agency, which was headed by former intelligence chief Arthur Fraser during Zuma’s tenure.

Fraser was later named the nation’s chief of prisons and controversially endorsed Zuma’s release from prison on medical grounds. Zuma was imprisoned for refusing to testify before the judicial commission chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Fraser is currently at the center of controversy engulfing Ramaphosa because he filed a criminal complaint alleging the president concealed the theft of around $4 million in foreign currency from his Phala Phala game farm in the northern province of Limpopo. .

The scandal – dubbed Phala Phala-gate in South Africa’s buzzing press – tarnished Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption reputation and prompted opposition parties to call for his resignation.

Publication of the final chapter of the report has been delayed as it was originally due to be delivered to Ramaphosa and made public last week, drawing anger from the main opposition Democratic Alliance party.

The report is also expected to address allegations of wrongdoing at the country’s public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The institution has already been singled out for wrongdoing by earlier versions of the report which discussed how money flowed from the broadcaster and other state-owned companies to sponsor projects of The New Age newspaper, which was controlled by the controversial Gupta family.

Two brothers, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, were arrested in Dubai two weeks ago in connection with corruption charges brought against them in South Africa. South African authorities are expected to push for their extradition so they can stand trial in South Africa, where some of their associates are already facing corruption charges.

The Guptas reportedly used their close ties to Zuma to influence his cabinet appointments and to win lucrative contracts with ministries and state-owned companies.

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