26 June 2013

South Africa: Government Knew About Gaddafi Man - DA Submits PAIA Application

press release

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa knew of the presence in South Africa of Muammar Gaddafi's former chief of staff, Bashir Saleh, as early as February this year, a reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed. This contradicts the statement made in Parliament by President Zuma last week when he said that South Africa was not able to monitor or prevent the movement of Mr Saleh.

The recent spotlight on Libyan funds and assets allegedly hidden in South Africa has now shed light on what may be a cover-up of possible financial ties between government, the ANC and the former Libyan dictator.

Mr Saleh, also known as Bashir al Shrkawi, is on Interpol's wanted list and is reported to have acted as Mr Gaddafi's personal financial advisor while serving as his chief of staff. He has reportedly been allowed to travel in and out of South Africa to attend the ANC's centenary dinner in Mangaung and the BRICS summit in Durban.

I will today be submitting an application to South Africa's Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requesting the DA gets sight of all documents distributed to the United Nations relating to Libyan financial interests in South Africa, specifically those concerning Gaddafi.

As the South African body responsible for providing financial intelligence for use in the fight against crime, money laundering and terror financing, I trust the FIC will have all relevant information available at their fingertips.

The PAIA application is necessary since Minister Gordhan has denied my request for a full investigation into the Gaddafi billions in South Africa. In that request I had asked Treasury to look into:

The link between the funds, and high ranking ANC officials as reported in the media,

The origin and destination of all relevant funds transferred from Libya to South Africa, and

The total value and timing of all related transfers.

The South African public now have a right to know whether Libyan funds bought Gaddafi and his regime any influence over the governing party and this government.

Tim Harris, Shadow Minister of Finance

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