| Hawks investigation into Zuma's diamond-dealing benefactor Louis Liebenberg 'sensitive' - Cele

The Morning Mails | Hawks investigation into Zuma's diamond-dealing benefactor Louis Liebenberg 'sensitive' - Cele

The Hawks investigation into diamond dealer and President Jacob Zuma's benefactor, Louis Liebenberg is "sensitive", Police Minister Bheki Cele said. Liebenberg has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme with diamonds, which he has publicly denied. In June 2022, FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald asked Cele in a written Parliamentary question what progress the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known 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 also asked when the investigation commenced and when it would be completed, as investors wanted to claim back their money. Cele answered as follows: Cele didn't want to divulge further information on the investigation, which stemmed from a complaint laid in November 2019.

READ | Hawks still wrapping up probe into Zuma supporter Louis Liebenberg's diamond dealings More recently, Groenewald asked 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 also asked whether any steps have been taken against 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: Last week, News24 Business reported that Liebenberg would head to court this week in an urgent bid to set aside the provisional liquidation of his company, Tariomix. Tariomix, which finances the selling and buying of diamonds, was placed into provisional winding up by the North West High Court in Mahikeng last 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 private prosecution of senior State advocate Billy Downer – who is prosecuting Zuma for the arms deal corruption – and News24 specialist legal journalist Karyn Maughan in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg. Zuma alleges Downer and Maughan contravened the section of the National Prosecuting Authority Act that prohibits NPA employees from disclosing private documents to members of the public. Downer and Maughan deny any wrongdoing and accuse Zuma of abusing court processes. The information Maughan reported on was contained in court papers and was, therefore, part of public documents. Besides, she didn't obtain it from Downer.

Liebenberg put up R500 000 as a deposit for Zuma to continue with his private prosecution. Downer and Maughan's applications to set aside the private prosecution will be heard on Monday in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

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