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Tue Dec 06 12:11:28 SAST 2016

Presidency rejects 'malicious gossip' Gaddafi report

TMG Digital | 2016-01-08 16:48:23.0
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and President Jacob Zuma
Image by: Reuters / Reuters

Reports that President Jacob Zuma allegedly “secretly received money from Libya’s President Muammar Gaddafi and feared his own administration could be toppled” have been denied by the presidency.

The report in the Mail & Guardian‚ published on Friday‚ said this information was conveyed in 2011 to Hillary Clinton when she was United States secretary of state.

It said the US state department had‚ on New Year’s Eve‚ released thousands of pages of private emails sent and received by Clinton. The request for her private documents relates to an inquiry in 2014 by the House of Representatives into the attack on the US embassy in Libya in which the ambassador and one other person died.

Zuma had been in Libya to act as a mediator between Gaddafi and the rebels.

The M&G wrote that one unedited email painted an unflattering picture of Zuma. It said Zuma was not trusted by the rebels: “According to knowledgeable individuals‚ NLC [National Libyan Council rebel group] officials also believe that‚ like many OAU [AU forerunner Organisation of African Union] heads of state‚ Zuma has accepted substantial secret financial support from Gaddafi. They add that the Libya dictator is now calling in these favours to gain international support for his regime.”

Another group thought Zuma was favouring Gaddafi because of political concerns: “…his government has been plagued by allegations of corruption and other criminal activity. According to these sources‚ Zuma worries that these accusations will spark a protest movement that could endanger his government‚ particularly if they can look to Libya and other countries in North Africa as examples of where these movements succeeded.”

The US told the M&G the email was not written by one of its employees and that the writer was relaying observations and comments from his contacts.

The presidency said in a statement on Friday that it “refutes and rejects this malicious and irresponsible gossip and fabrication perpetuated by this newspaper”.

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