Zuma could not separate relationship with Guptas and his role as head of intelligence, says Mo Shaik

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Nov 26, 2019

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Johannesburg - Former intelligence boss Mo Rieaz Shaik says former president Jacob Zuma did not act appropriately as executive head of intelligence with regards to the proposed investigation into the Gupta family.

Shaik was appearing at the Zondo commission for a second day on Tuesday and said Zuma could not separate his relationship with Guptas and his role as the head of state.

Shaik and his intelligence colleagues had in 2011 decided to embark on an investigation into the Gupta family. He said they were faced with disapproval from then state security minister Siyabonga Cwele. The minister did not approve of the investigation and told Shaik to halt it.

The investigation was needed because of a possible national security risk posed by the Gupta family. The US government had also raised questions regarding the family’s involvement in purchasing a uranium mine.

Shaik said another concern were reports around Mbalula declaring in an ANC NEC meeting that he had been called by one of the Gupta brothers and informed that he would be appointed as minister of sports.
He said this revelation was a concern around the president and possible infiltration of foreign individuals in the workings of the state.
Shaik and his colleague Gibson Njenje had decided to engage Zuma on the importance of the investigation.

He said in a meeting with Zuma it became clear that he could not separate is role as head of state from his relationship with the Guptas. Shaik said Zuma sought to defend his relationship with the family.

"At that meeting, the issue of his relationship with the Gupta family arose and he sought to explain at the very least or even defend his relationship with the Gupta family," asked evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius. "That is correct," Shaik replied.

Whilst there may be explanations why the former President acted the way he did in the meeting, did he carry out his duties as executive head accountable for intelligence decisions?" asked Pretorius. "Regrettably not," Shaik replied.

He also told the commission about his last months at state security agency after which he resigned in 2012. Shaik said Cwele had offered him a position as the ambassador to Japan, which he found to be unconstitutional because of he no legal basis to offer such a position.

“He had no power, no constitutional authority to make the offer, nor did he have the authority to make the appointment. The fact that he could make the offer to me was engaging me in a conversation I considered to be unconstitutional," Shaik said.

He said he was later offered the same position by the ministry of international relations and cooperations, but he eventually declined the offer as he planned on leaving the government. He later joined the Development Bank.


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