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The victim myth around SA President Jacob Zuma was dented yesterday when nephew Khulubuse was named among the high profile clients of stinky legal firm Mossack Fonseca, focus of the global #PanamaPapers expose’. The scandal follows a year-long investigation by 370 investigative journalists who sifted through 11.5m documents leaked from the Panama-headquartered firm that specialises in hiding client assets in complex offshore structures.
Shortly after Zuma Snr met his DRC counterpart Joseph Kabila in 2009, the law firm registered two companies for Zuma Jnr in the British Virgin Islands. Their sole purpose was to house oil-rich blocks in the DRC gifted to Zuma by a Presidential decree.
The massive blocks – 3 700 and 2 850 square kms in size – had belonged to R37bn LSE-listed Tullow Oil plc, winner of a transparent bidding process in 2006. Shortly after Kabila’s decree, 400 South African troops and heavyweight military equipment including Rooivalk helicopters, were dispatched to the DRC where they have seen plenty of action.
This story has an even more distasteful ending. The #PanamaPapers disclosures show Mossack Fonseca has no problem representing Ponzi scheme operators, druglords, tax evaders and even a jailed paedophile. But it found Khulubuse too hot to handle, apparently severing the relationship after being asked by BVI authorities to share its Due Diligence report on him and his companies. The truth has an interesting way of emerging, doesn’t it?
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.