By MOGOMOTSI MAGOME, Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Another damning report into government corruption in South Africa has recommended new investigations and possible prosecution of former President Jacob Zuma, current and former cabinet ministers and senior leaders of the ruling party on African National Congress for allegedly receiving bribes.

This is the third report resulting from three years of investigations, testimonies and cross-examinations of witnesses and whistleblowers. The investigation revealed considerable corruption under Zuma at the highest levels of government in Africa’s most developed economy.

The latest report was released on Tuesday and delivered to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In the report, Zuma, current ANC chairman and energy minister Gwede Mantashe and former minister Nomvula Mokonyane are among those who allegedly received ‘bonuses’ from controversial security firm Bosasa so that it can maintain its grip on state contracts.

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Some of the bribes took the form of monthly payments to the Jacob Zuma Foundation and sponsorship of Zuma’s lavish birthday parties.

Zuma served as South Africa’s president from 2009 to 2018 before being forced to resign by his ANC party amid corruption allegations, which led to the establishment of the commission of inquiry. He is currently on trial on other corruption charges unrelated to the commission.

Earlier reports from the commission of inquiry were equally damning and accused Zuma and other senior government officials of taking bribes to award lucrative government contracts to other corrupt businessmen. .

“Evidence reveals that there was widespread corruption in the awarding of contracts and tenders to Bosasa,” the latest report said. “There is sufficient evidence to establish that Mr. Zuma accepted gratuity from another person who held and sought government contracts.

Zuma denied the allegations and criticized the commission, saying he was not given the opportunity to tell his side of the story. His foundation said he had been denied ‘the most basic rights to be heard’.

Zuma, 79, was subpoenaed to testify at the commission hearings but walked out mid-testimony and refused to appear again, earning him a 15-month prison sentence the year last for contempt of court. He was released on medical parole after serving two months, although this decision is being challenged in court on the grounds that it did not follow proper procedures.

The intrigue over Bosasa’s allegedly corrupt relationship with Zuma and other senior government officials deepened when the company’s CEO was killed in a car crash just months after the initial revelations. A private pathologist found he was already dead before the car he was in hit a pillar.

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