South African deputy finance minister named in police probe

February 26, 2017
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Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas | Report Focus News

South Africa’s Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas is being investigated by the Hawks elite police unit as part of a probe into allegations of corruption at state-owned South African Airways (SAA), the City Press newspaper reported on Sunday.

As part of the probe into SAA, the unit is investigating allegations that Jonas used his political influence to secure U.S. aircraft company AAR Corp contracts to supply components and tyres to the state airline, the newspaper cited three unidentified Hawks sources and one SAA source as saying.

Treasury spokeswoman Yolisa Tyantsi declined to comment. Spokespeople for Jonas and the SAA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi was quoted by City Press as saying there was an investigation into allegations of corruption at SAA but it was policy not reveal names of those being probed. Mulaudzi did not answer calls from Reuters.

AAR Corp could not be reached for comment. The firm was quoted by City Press as denying any wrongdoing. “AAR conducts its business with the highest ethical and legal standards,” a unidentified spokesman was quoted as saying.

Jonas has been an outspoken critic of government corruption and he opened divides within the ruling African National Congress last year when he said businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma said they could secure him the finance ministry job.

An investigation last year by the Hawks into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, which was later dropped, shook South Africa’s financial markets.

(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Mark Potter)