Monday, March 27, 2023

Hawks investigation into Zuma’s diamond-dealing benefactor Louis Liebenberg ‘sensitive’ – Cele | News24

Louis Liebenberg speaks during a media briefing in Kempton Park.

Louis Liebenberg speaks throughout a media briefing in Kempton Park.

PHOTO: Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, City Press

  • The Hawks investigation into diamond supplier Louis Liebenberg is “sensitive”, stated Police Minister Bheki Cele.
  • He was responding to a query from FF Plus chief Pieter Groenewald, who requested about progress on the grievance in opposition to Liebenberg, which was laid in November 2019.
  • Liebenberg put up R500 000 as a deposit to permit former president Jacob Zuma to privately prosecute senior prosecutor Billy Downer and News24 specialist authorized journalist Karyn Maughan.

The Hawks investigation into diamond supplier and President Jacob Zuma’s benefactor, Louis Liebenberg is “sensitive”, Police Minister Bheki Cele stated.

Liebenberg has been accused of operating a Ponzi scheme with diamonds, which he has publicly denied.

In June 2022, FF Plus chief Pieter Groenewald requested Cele in a written Parliamentary query what progress the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also referred to as the Hawks, had made with the “investigation into the diamond scheme of Mr Louis Liebenberg where investors invested approximately R100 million in the specified scheme”.

He additionally requested when the investigation commenced and when it might be accomplished, as buyers wished to say again their cash.

Cele answered as follows: 

The matter is being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). This is a mission pushed investigation and the investigation has progressed nicely.

Cele did not wish to expose additional info on the investigation, which stemmed from a grievance laid in November 2019.

READ | Hawks still wrapping up probe into Zuma supporter Louis Liebenberg’s diamond dealings

More just lately, Groenewald requested Cele what progress has been made with the investigation.

Cele’s response, dated 14 March, reads: “The aforementioned case is of a sensitive nature, and as such, details pertaining to the case cannot be divulged for public consumption/purpose due to the ongoing investigations.”

Groenewald additionally requested whether or not any steps have been taken in opposition to Liebenberg “in light of allegations that [Liebenberg] is threatening persons, with the head of the DPCI and is abusing his name to intimidate people”.

Cele answered:

No complaints of such a nature have been disclosed to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI).

Last week, News24 Business reported that Liebenberg would head to court docket this week in an pressing bid to put aside the provisional liquidation of his firm, Tariomix.

Tariomix, which funds the promoting and shopping for of diamonds, was positioned into provisional winding up by the North West High Court in Mahikeng final month.

READ | Diamond dealer and Zuma donor Louis Liebenberg vows to fight provisional liquidation of business

Liebenberg grabbed headlines in October 2022 when he appeared at former president Jacob Zuma’s personal prosecution of senior State advocate Billy Downer – who’s prosecuting Zuma for the arms deal corruption – and News24 specialist authorized journalist Karyn Maughan within the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

Zuma alleges Downer and Maughan contravened the part of the National Prosecuting Authority Act that prohibits NPA staff from disclosing personal paperwork to members of the general public. Downer and Maughan deny any wrongdoing and accuse Zuma of abusing court docket processes.

The info Maughan reported on was contained in court docket papers and was, subsequently, a part of public paperwork. Besides, she did not get hold of it from Downer. 

Liebenberg put up R500 000 as a deposit for Zuma to proceed together with his personal prosecution.

Downer and Maughan’s purposes to put aside the personal prosecution might be heard on Monday within the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

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