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Ex-S. African president’s son denies graft allegations

Ex-S. African president’s son denies graft allegations
Former business partner of wealthy Gupta Indian family accused of influence peddling

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG (AA) - The son of former South African President Jacob Zuma has denied bribery and corruption allegations leveled against him at a judicial commission of inquiry probing government corruption.

Duduzane Zuma, 35, a former business partner of the wealthy Gupta Indian family, appeared before the commission on Monday, as a witness to give his version after being accused of playing part in high level government corruption.

Former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas told the commission last year that one of the Gupta brothers had offered him a bribe of 600 million rands ($44.6 million) and a promise to be promoted as full finance minister during a meeting arranged by the president’s son.

Duduzane denied he had organized the meeting.

He instead said he had arranged the meeting in 2015 so that the former minister addresses a rumor he had allegedly made against businessman Fana Hlongwane whom he had accused of blackmailing him.

His version contradicted that of former minister Jonas who served under Jacob Zuma’s administration.

‘‘There are a lot of accusations that have been labeled and placed on me but has the commission taken any steps to investigate them,’’ a calm Zuma junior dressed in a blue suit asked Justice Raymond Zondo, chair of the commission of inquiry.

Zondo responded by saying the purpose of the commission was to hear all sides of the story in order to ascertain the truth.

The Gupta family which consists of three brothers was close to Jacob Zuma during his reign.

They are said to have wielded massive influence on him including firing and hiring of ministers and top government officials who did not support their business interests by giving them lucrative government contracts. The brothers, however, deny the allegations.

They used to run multi-billion business empires in South Africa but fled the country after Zuma announced his resignation in February 2018 . At the time corruption allegations against them had widely circulated in the media.

Duduzane will continue with his testimony on Tuesday.

source: News Feed
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