[DEBATE] : (Fwd) ANCrony capitalism (cont): Zumite skeletons
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Sep 24 10:28:07 BST 2008
Motau's odd company
STEFAANS BRüMMER, NIC DAWES AND SAM SOLE - Sep 24 2008 00:00
What do defence intelligence chief Lieutenant-General "Mojo" Motau,
sacked civilian spy chief Billy Masetlha and controversial MP Mnyami
Booi have in common, apart from embracing the Zuma cause? A group of
companies they'd rather not talk about.
The Nawa group may not have made them rich yet, but it could create
problems for two of the partners: Motau, whose growing corporate
portfolio may be incompatible with his sensitive state duties, and Booi,
who did not declare the interest to Parliament.
Company filings show that the three men and a fourth partner, Sifiso
Pretorius, registered Nawa Holdings in February this year. In May they
registered Nawa Oil, Nawa Mining, Nawa Energy, Nawa ICT and Telecoms,
Nawa Developments and Nawa External Operations.
Booi -- once chair of the Thabo Mbeki Crossroads Education Fund; now a
Travelgate accused and fierce Scorpions critic -- declared interests in
four companies to Parliament this year, but made no mention of the Nawa
group. June 20 was the cut-off date. Booi said last week: "I thought we
have to declare things that are worth more than R300, these companies
are dormant, they are just an empty vessel, so I ignored them. My name
is on many companies."
A parliamentary official, however, said a value threshold applied to
gifts and hospitality only. Companies had to be declared regardless.
Booi would not be drawn on the purpose of the Nawa group, saying: "It is
just business ... There is nothing special about it, and it isn't making
any money anyway."
Pretorius, who used to be in exile in Lesotho, runs a rail engineering
company contracted by Transnet. He would not explain the Nawa group's
purpose either, except to say it did not do "much" business in South
Africa. "In any case it is a new company."
Masetlha, whom President Thabo Mbeki dismissed as director general of
the National Intelligence Agency in 2006, could not be reached on
Thursday. He has become a key strategist for ANC president Jacob Zuma.
Motau, who appeared on the Zuma camp's ANC national executive committee
list at Polokwane despite his position at defence intelligence, did not
respond to questions last week. These included whether he had declared
his interests in the Nawa group and five other companies as required by
public service regulations.
Motau's business interests reveal problems on at least two fronts:
* Intelligence heads occupy a position of extreme trust vis-à-vis
the executive. For him to have entered a formal relationship with
Masetlha, whom Mbeki dismissed in 2006 over an "irretrievable breakdown
of trust", seems a slap in Mbeki's face.
* Motau is associated -- through a friend and a common company name,
although not ownership -- with a UK-registered risk consultancy which
specialises in selling the kind of information that Motau has access to
through his intelligence job.
The consultancy, Leriba Risk, boasts on its website that it "draws on a
wide network of business, political, intelligence, diplomatic and
academic sources" across Africa to "offer insider knowledge essential to
an understanding of what is really happening behind the closed doors of
Africa's business and political elites".
Until the Mail & Guardian posed questions last week, the website also
stated that Leriba Risk was a "division" of Leriba Resources, which
South African company filings show has two principals: Motau and former
Reuters correspondent Buchizya Mseteka. This appeared to suggest Motau
co-owns Leriba Risk.
Mseteka, a Zambian national who left Reuters under a cloud following
allegations that he had accepted payments from Zambian intelligence, is
close to Motau from exile days.
Mseteka confirmed his friendship with Motau. He said that when he set up
Leriba Risk he intended to include Motau, hence the reference on the
website to their joint company, Leriba Resources. But he claimed that
Motau had declined participation in Leriba Risk, saying "he didn't think
he should be part of it as it would be a conflict of interest".
UK company records confirm Leriba Risk is not co-owned by Motau or
Leriba Resources. The shareholders are Mseteka, London-based consultant
Keith Boyfield and Jonathan Clayton, the Johannesburg-based Times of
London Africa correspondent. Clayton made headlines when he was arrested
and tortured after sneaking into Zimbabwe in April.
Mseteka said that he and Motau set up Leriba Resources some years ago to
"go after business opportunities" but that it obtained shares only in
Phutuma Nathi, the MultiChoice empowerment vehicle.South African company
filings show them to be co-directors of a second company, Ngoco Trade
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