South Africa

Former President, Thabo Mbeki denies FIFA World Cup bribe claims

News 24 reproted that the former President Thabo Mbeki was not aware of anybody who solicited a $10m bribe from the South African government so it could host the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Mbeki said in a statement on Friday that, as Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had already stated on behalf of the government, no public money was ever used to pay a bribe.

“I wish to state that the Government that I had the privilege to lead would never have paid any bribe even if it were solicited,” Mbeki said.

“It is therefore unnecessary for me or my office to make further comments on this matter.”

On Thursday, Mbalula refuted allegations that the South African government paid a bribe to secure the rights to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

“All funding by [the] South African government was transferred via the Treasury to the national department of sports and recreation, and that no such amount was paid by the department of sports and recreation and the government of South Africa to any individual.

“Our financial records and books for the 2010 and 2011 financial years, and those before and after the period of the World Cup have been audited by the auditor-general of South Africa and no such amount has been found on our books. The funds transferred to the local organising committee were also accounted for.”

Two SA officials accused

A US indictment accused two South African officials, named as conspirator #15 and #16, of bribing former FIFA vice-president and Caribbean football boss Jack Warner on two occasions – the amounts totalling $10m.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier this week said FIFA officials orchestrated a “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” racket to “acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks”.

The 160-page indictment details the alleged involvement of high-ranking South African officials who were mentioned in the “2010 FIFA World Cup Vote Scheme”, essentially securing South Africa as the host nation by “buying” three votes.

In information laid bare in the document, Warner is accused of spending his alleged spoils and settling a loan, and channelling hush money to others who voted in South Africa’s favour.

The South African co-conspirators have not been named, nor have they been arrested or indicted.

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Read: US indictment on 2010 SWC

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