Thursday, October 16

The Scotsman gets it just about right in its report on Zumagate;

THE greatest test of South Africa’s democracy began yesterday with the opening of a judicial inquiry triggered by corruption allegations associated with a multibillion-pound arms deal.
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The judicial inquiry, in Bloemfontein, is into charges that the director of public prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, was a spy for the apartheid regime. Many alleged spies were executed in ANC camps abroad when the movement operated from exile as a guerrilla army.

The inquiry was instituted after Mr Ngcuka, who is also head of the Scorpions, South Africa’s crack anti-corruption police unit, launched a prosecution against a friend of Mr Zuma for alleged multimillion-pound fraud in connection with deals with Italy, Britain and Germany.

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Mr Ngcuka, in his role as Scorpions chief, said a prima facie case of corruption exists against Mr Zuma thanks to documents seized in raids on Thomson CSF offices in South Africa, France and Mauritius.

But he said without the co-operation of the French government the evidence was not strong enough to convict President Thabo Mbeki’s deputy. Mr Ngcuka is trying to extradite senior Thomson CSF executives from France who are alleged to have distributed bribes.

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Mr Ngcuka, with the backing of the justice minister, Penuell Maduna, said the claims were false, a sideshow to detract attention from massive government fraud over the purchase of European state-of-the-art equipment.

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