Business 11.8.2018 10:30 am

Baleka Mbete says she hasn’t seen ‘a cent’ from her Gold Fields ‘bribe’

Baleka Mbete. PHOTO: Henk Kruger/ANA PHOTO

Baleka Mbete. PHOTO: Henk Kruger/ANA PHOTO

The speaker of parliament, however, declared shares in the company valued at R27m in 2014.

In an interview with eNCA on Friday night National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete denied any knowledge of being involved in corruption in the mining industry.

In 2013, the Mail and Guardian and other news outlets, preceded by Carte Blanche, reported that she allegedly received a bribe in 2010 worth about R25 million in shares in a Gold Fields black economic empowerment scheme that had included her as a major shareholder.

She, however, denied on Friday that had received such an amount of money – or any money at all – from the company.

She said she wasn’t disputing the allegations about being involved with Gold Fields as such, but said: “I’m just saying I don’t have a cent from that. I just read these figures in the Mail & Guardian.”

She would, however, have received dividends as a Gold Fields shareholder – for which she invested no money of her own – over the years.

“Every citizen of this country has the right to be invited and participate in any business activity as long as it within the limits of the law,” she told the news channel.

“That really is where I’d like to end that answer.”

A New York-based law firm commissioned by Gold Fields to investigate its BEE deal found in 2013 that the company had hugely increased Mbete’s cut in the controversial 2010 empowerment deal that also saw Springbok Ashwin Willemse and former lawyer to Jacob Zuma advocate Jerome Brauns gain shares free of charge in Gold Fields, one of the world’s biggest gold mining companies.

The lawyers made no findings against Mbete, however. The Hawks said they would investigate, but nothing was ever reported about that investigation, if it took place.

In 2014, the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests in parliament announced it would not investigate whether Mbete breached the code of conduct for assembly and council members in the deal. They said it would be out of their jurisdiction to do so.

In 2014 Mbete declared equity shares totalling about R27 million for entry into parliament’s register of members’ interests.

She admitted at the time to having 100 equity shares valued at about R25 million in a company called Rich Cove Investments and 277 equity shares valued at about R2 million in Turncard Trading 118.

Gold Fields only has one primary mining operation left in South Africa, the troubled South Deep mine near Carletonville. It contains the majority of gold reserves left in the country.

However, these are proving difficult and expensive to extract.

 

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