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29 May 2008 16:00
A Cabinet minister is one of 30 Swaziland businessmen who are to be investigated by the country’s main anti-corruption unit over how they amassed their fortunes, the government said on Thursday.
“We have handed over 30 names to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and it is up to the commission to conclude its investigations,” said government press secretary Percy Simelane.
The move comes after Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini told Parliament earlier this week that an unnamed Cabinet minister had amassed more than 30-million emalangeni ($4-million) in his bank account and would now be investigated by the ACC.
Simelane said the government would not “play with fire” by trying to pre-empt the outcome of any investigation but it was important that the source of the minister’s wealth was clarified.
“There is nothing wrong with that but he will have to explain how he made so much money. We know how much ministers earn and it will be interesting to learn how he made so much money,’ Simelane said.
Dlamini has been urged by opposition groups to name the minister, with United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) secretary general Sphasha Dlamini saying it was time that corruption was fought more vigorously.
“This country is losing a lot of money through illicit dealings and we would like him to name the minister and have him prosecuted instead of telling us that there was a minister with 30-million emalangeni in his account,” he said.
Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy which is landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique, is one of Africa’s poorest nations with more than two-thirds of its one million population living below the poverty line.
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