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Sam Sole & Stefaans Brummer
07 Nov 2003 08:59
An enigmatic but well-connected businessman has emerged as Jacob Zuma’s greatest known benefactor since his appointment as deputy president. Jurgen Kogl “loaned” Zuma R656 000, more even than Schabir Shaik.
Debate raged in Parliament’s ethics committee this week as to whether substantial payments to Zuma - totalling R1,52-million since 1999 - were “loans”, as he insists.
The Mail & Guardian has been able to assemble details of some of his financial liabilities and the extent to which individual business people have been willing to help meet them.
Much has been written about the relationship between Zuma and Shaik, the arms deal businessman who also describes himself as Zuma’s financial adviser.
Kogl has been close to a number of politicians, including President Thabo Mbeki, who stayed in his Hillbrow, Johannesburg, flat after returning from exile in 1990.
Kogl, alongside his friend Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, the former opposition leader, played a crucial role in facilitating a deal between the right wing and the African National Congress before 1994 to avert bloodshed.
Kogl is known to have acted, like Shaik, as Zuma’s financial adviser. He said this week that his relationship with Zuma, Mbeki and the ANC was a long-standing one, in the case of the party stretching back long before 1990.
“There is nothing sinister about these relationships. What happens is that you provide support and find ways of making sure these guys are able to get on with negotiations or with governing the country,” he said.
The probe by Parliament’s ethics committee, which on Tuesday postponed its proceedings for a second time after it failed to reach consensus on a recommendation to exonerate Zuma, is based on a dossier forwarded to Parliament by National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka.
The dossier, compiled from information gleaned during the arms deal investigation, contains details of transfers to or on behalf of Zuma. After a preliminary investigation Fazela Mahomed, the registrar of the parliamentary committee, recommended to members that Zuma be cleared.
This was based on Mahomed apparently accepting assurances that the payments were interest-bearing loans, meaning Zuma had been under no obligation to declare them as “benefits” in the register of MPs’ interests.
The committee operates behind closed doors, but it was reported this week that there are discrepancies in explanations that have reached the committee, raising further doubts in some members’ minds whether the payments were indeed loans. The committee has demanded further documentation and is to reconvene next Friday.
The M&G has assembled evidence that Ngcuka’s dossier lists the following payments to or on behalf of the deputy president:
These transactions include:
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