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Truth of Gupta Waterkloof landing never told – DA’s David Maynier

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been the target of a public outcry over the past few months, with questions being raised about her fitness to hold office.

Now, her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, has raised questions about why Mkhwebane closed her investigation into the justice, crime prevention, and security (JCPS) cluster probe into the Gupta Waterkloof landing in 2013.

In an article published in Business Day on Tuesday, the newspaper quoted Madonsela as saying: “The truth is the investigation was completed and all we needed was a report. How after that they closed the investigation is a mystery.”

Western Cape Finance MEC David Maynier of the DA originally laid the complaint with the Public Protector in 2013 and says he does not support Mkhwebane’s decision.

“I don’t think the truth of the incident has ever been made public and I think it should.

“Nobody was ever really held accountable for what happened, in fact the reverse happened, everybody who was involved in that incident, which was a national scandal, was promoted,” Maynier said.

He continued: “A third issue that needs to be looked at is the practice of closing investigations but keeping the fact of that secret. There is now a question of other investigations that have been closed and not been made public.”

Maynier’s complaint related to the Gupta family landing a private aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base carrying 270 guests who were attending a wedding at Sun City.

The landing caused a stir among the public and, in a symbolic way, was said to be the beginning of the public’s exposure to the inner workings of state capture.

Also read: Guptas planning 2 lavish weddings at luxury ski resort – reports

The Public Protector’s investigation related to Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson who was implicated as the responsible person in the JCPS cluster probe. Anderson subsequently complained that the probe was “irregular”.

She was then charged with contravening the military defence code, but these charges were later dropped. As a result, Mkhwebane seemed to believe that her investigation would be null and void.

The JCPS investigation

The JCPS cluster exonerated then-president Jacob Zuma and his ministers but implicated, among others, two people – Bruce Koloane, the ambassador to the Netherlands, as well as Anderson. The report said they had irregularly given clearance for the landing.

“The activities of Ambassador Koloane and Lieutenant Colonel Anderson were a serious dereliction of duty in that they were advancing the objectives of this project to the detriment of their official responsibilities.”

It continues: “Their activities also indicate the bringing to bear of undue influence on state officials, systems, equipment and infrastructure … the roles of the two individuals had a similar effect in that due to their seniority and knowledge of departmental systems and processes in their respective areas, they both grossly abused and undermined these processes.”

The two, along with other co-accused, appeared in the military court at the Thaba Tshwane military base in Pretoria in 2013 and were charged with contravention of the military defence code.

Feeling that the probe “irregular”, Anderson then took to the Public Protector, saying she was used as a scapegoat.

Maynier also went to the Public Protector, asking Madonsela to investigate the role of Cabinet members and events leading up to the Waterkloof landing. Madonsela rejected this complaint due to insufficient evidence to justify it.

In a letter to Maynier, Madonsela said she would, however, investigate the task team.

“We will pursue this matter in respect of the complaint lodged by Col. Anderson where she had expressed dissatisfaction in the matter in which the task team dealt with the investigation in so far as her participation in the process was concerned.

“She alleges that the task team conducted itself in an irregular manner by making findings against her without having given her an opportunity to respond before the report was published similarly.”

READ MORE: Busisiwe Mkhwebane claims her office is going through ‘testing times’

Maynier welcomed this response.

“We have maintained from the start that the JCPS task team’s investigation was a carefully crafted damage control exercise designed to protect President Zuma and members of his Cabinet from the political fallout generated by ‘Guptagate’.”

The investigation seemed to ruffle some feathers and in 2015 charges were withdrawn against Anderson. Koloane, on the other hand, became the fall guy and pleaded guilty to all charges.

This withdrawal seems to be the basis upon which Mkhwebane has closed the case because an investigation would at that point be worthless.

Madonsela, in reply, told Business Day: “The report was important because it pointed to security fault lines beyond Anderson’s case. We interviewed everyone, including task team members [including then-correctional services commissioner Tom Moyane] and got the radio record.”

Mkhwebane has recently been under fire for three of her reports being set aside by the courts and has subsequently been labelled as Zuma’s last line of defence.

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Bill Cosby appeals 2018 conviction for Pennsylvania sex…

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June 25 (Reuters) – Bill Cosby’s lawyers on Tuesday formally appealed his conviction for drugging and sexually attacking a former friend at his home near Philadelphia 15 years ago, citing what they called errors in legal procedure that allowed trial testimony and evidence the defence contends should have been excluded.

By Barbara Goldberg and Steve Gorman

Attorneys for the once-beloved American actor and comedian, star of the hit television sitcom “The Cosby Show,” urged the appellate-level Pennsylvania Superior Court to either throw out his 2018 guilty verdict altogether or grant him a new trial.

The 348-page appeal asserts that Cosby, 81, was wrongly convicted on the basis of “flawed, erroneous, and prejudicial rulings” by the trial judge, including the admission of testimony from several accusers other than the woman he was charged with assaulting.

A jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, found Cosby guilty in April 2018 of drugging and sexually violating former Temple University administrator Andrea Constand, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

It marked the first such criminal conviction of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct since the #MeToo movement that has brought down dozens of powerful, privileged men in American media, politics and business since the autumn of 2017.

In September of last year, trial Judge Steven O’Neill designated Cosby a “sexually violent predator” under state law, requiring Cosby to register as a sex offender for life, and sentenced him to a term of three to 10 years in prison.

Cosby, who is married, has insisted all along that any sexual encounters he had were consensual. He was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

OTHER ACCUSERS

A major thrust of Cosby’s appeal is the contention that his conviction hinged on testimony from six other women who had accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, “all having occurred approximately 15 or more years before the charged crime.”

The defense asserted that allegations of the other women, five of whom testified in court, should have been inadmissible because they bore too little similarity or connection to the offense for which Cosby was prosecuted.

The appellate brief also said the judge should not have allowed prosecutors to introduce incriminating admissions by Cosby from a sworn statement he had once given in a separate civil case filed by Constand.

That 2005 deposition, in which Cosby acknowledged giving sedatives called Quaaludes to young women for purposes of having sex with them, was cited as a key piece of evidence in the criminal case brought a decade later by District Attorney Kevin Steele.

The defense argued it should have been excluded as irrelevant to the criminal case and a violation of Cosby’s constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Cosby’s lawyers maintain the criminal case was itself a violation of a 2005 promise by Steele’s predecessor, Bruce Castor, to refrain from prosecuting Cosby if the entertainer agreed to sit for the sworn deposition in Constand’s civil suit.

The two sides in the case are scheduled to present oral arguments over the appeal to the Superior Court on Aug. 12, according to a court spokeswoman. (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Gallery

In other news…

The South African economy is choking harder than the Proteas. Although to be choking you have to actually be eating and the Proteas seem to be on some sort of juice cleanse-like fast…*

Back to the economy: In the first quarter the GDP dive-bombed by a whopping 3.2%. The sense of futility can paralyse us into inaction and moaning. But it’s times like these that call for effort and action, no matter how small. Yes, South Africa is hurting. Yes the ravaged economy is evident everywhere you look. But you can make a difference, in your own personal way and by supporting independent media like Daily Maverick. We’ve pledged to continue the fight through producing incisive and impactful investigations and analysis, the same way we have done every day for the last decade.

By becoming a Maverick Insider you can help us keep doing what we do, so that you and others who can’t afford it, can keep reading the truth. For whatever amount you choose, you can support DM and it only takes a minute.

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*Proteas, you know we love you. We’d just love you more if you won occasionally…


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Egypt vs DRC Prediction, head-to-head, score and TV stream

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After four days of small crowds, a capacity 75,000 crowd is expected in Cairo to cheer Egypt as they seek a third win in four Cup of Nations meetings with the DR Congo.

There will be contrasting pressures on the teams with the Pharaohs eyeing a second-round place and the Leopards fighting for survival after a horror first outing.

“We must learn to handle the pressure of being among the favourites in order to realise our goal of becoming African champions,” said Aguirre.

DR Congo came to Egypt as one of the most unpredictable qualifiers having finished third in 2015 only to make a timid quarter-final exit two years ago.

“We let our country down against Uganda,” confessed captain Youssouf Mulumbu. “It was a bitter lesson for us and we plan to correct the situation quickly.”

Prediction, head-to-head and TV stream

Prediction

Egypt are strong favourites with a win probability of 68%. The draw is the second most likely at 22% while a win for Congo DR is at just ten percent.

Head-to-head

Just seven previous meetings between these two teams. Egypt have won five and drawn two.

Where and what time
to watch

Kick off is at 22:00 SAST.

In Africa, SuperSport 4 and 10 will broadcast the match and
the opening ceremony.

Elsewhere: Eurosport Player (UK) and beIN Sports Connect
(U.S.).

Live scores

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Jackson fans sing, sob, leave sunflowers and roses on 10th anniversary of death

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With roses crafted into heart shapes and crowns made of bright yellow sunflowers, Michael Jackson fans from as far afield as Iran and Japan paid tribute on Tuesday to the King of Pop on the 10th anniversary of his death.

A Michael Jackson impersonator dances next to Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ten years after the death of child star turned King of Pop in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Several hundred fans gathered outside his burial place in the Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, north of Los Angeles, and held a minute’s silence at 2:26 p.m., the moment when Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead on June 25, 2009. They then broke into a rendition of “Heal the World” as some mourners quietly sobbed, hugged or wiped away tears.

Fans, some dressed like Jackson, placed posters, dolls, sequined gloves and even a red jacket like the singer’s signature “Thriller” outfit outside the private mausoleum where he is buried.

“Forever King,” “We’ll never forget you” and “We’ll never let you part” read some of the messages from Iran, Hungary and Japan.

Joan Simons traveled to the cemetery from the Netherlands, meeting up with people she had met on fan Facebook groups over the years. “We all feel the same – the love for Michael as a person, his music,” Simons told Reuters.

Jackson died at his Los Angeles home after an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, which he was using as a sleep aid. His doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted at a 2011 trial of involuntary manslaughter.

“A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever,” the Jackson estate said in a statement marking the anniversary.

While Jackson’s death was met with a wave of grief in 2009, his reputation has come under scrutiny again because of the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” in which two men gave emotional accounts of what they said was sexual abuse by the singer in the 1990s when they were boys.

Jackson was acquitted on charges of molesting a different boy in 2005, and his family have denied the accusations made in the documentary.

“People are going to believe what they want to believe. But if they really do their research, they’ll know the truth,” Rem Garza, 22, a Jackson impersonator from Long Beach, California, said on Tuesday.

Carla Tonti said she traveled from Florence, Italy, to the cemetery with her 79-year-old mother, Sabrina. “We feel like as if we are close to the people who just enjoy Michael as much as we did,” Tonti said.

Reporting by Reuters Televsion; Editing by Leslie Adler

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